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Colorado Insurance Blog

Ski Accidents: Will Insurance Pay?

Who pays the bill if you hurt someone while skiing?

Many of us in Colorado get excited after Halloween. That means the holidays are just around the corner and it’s almost ski season!

Ski season is the best time of year for some of us. But, it’s also the time of year when the liability risk skyrockets.

The roads become more treacherous when we start to see rain and snow mixed with the cold weather. Skiing or snowboarding down the slopes also presents a very real risk.

Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure you’re prepared.

Watch Out for Skiers and Objects Downhill

In Colorado, the law states that skiers or snowboarders farther up the mountain must avoid anyone downhill from them.

Each skier has the duty to maintain control of his speed and course at all times when skiing and to maintain a proper lookout so as to be able to avoid other skiers and objects. However, the primary duty shall be on the person skiing downhill to avoid collision with any person or objects below him.

The Colorado Ski Safety Act

It’s important to stay aware at all times. Especially if you see any kids or ski school groups that may not be as capable of controlling their actions.

Even if someone cuts in front of you at the last minute, you could still be held responsible for any injuries if you were the uphill skier.

Check Your Liability Coverage

Sometimes a collision is unavoidable even if you take safety precautions. The good news is that most homeowners or renters policies can help if you cause injuries in a ski accident.

The Colorado Ski Safety Act states that an injured party can recover up to $1Million in a settlement. They can even sure for more if they have medical bills or loss of wages beyond that $1Million limit.

Colorado is an especially litigious state. So the likelihood of being sued if you cause injuries in a ski accident is high.

When a lawyer gets involved, they often sue for the greatest payout possible. They don’t want to get the injuries covered, they want to make money.  If you don’t have enough liability coverage, you could end up paying hundreds of thousands out of pocket.

Consider an Umbrella Policy

Most home and renters policies offer a maximum liability limit of $500,000. That’s why we recommend purchasing an umbrella policy.

An umbrella policy provides liability coverage above and beyond your existing policies. Most umbrella policies start at a limit of $1Million and can go up from there. If you had a $1Million limit on your umbrella policy and $500,000 on your home policy, you’d have a total limit of $1,500,000.

Even if you don’t ski or snowboard, you should consider if any of your household members do. Your children, family members, and dependents living in your home are household members. That definition also usually extends to students away at college.

If anyone in your household partakes in winter sports, your policy can still cover a claim if they injure someone.

Avoid Criminal Charges

Though it’s more common to be sued in a ski accident, it’s also possible to face criminal charges. You’re most likely to face criminal charges include if you leave the scene of an accident or ski while intoxicated.

It’s against the law to ski while impaired by alcohol or any drugs, including marijuana. If you injure someone while under the influence may be considered criminally negligent.

Stopping at the lodge for a beer may not impair your abilities, but you’re responsible for knowing your limits. Being at higher elevation can cause alcohol or drugs to impact you more than you’re used to. Be cautious about getting back on the slopes if you think you might be impaired or intoxicated.

Similar to a car accident, you’re required to remain at the scene of a ski accident. You’ll need to provide your name and address to an employee of the ski resort. The only situation when it’s acceptable to leave the scene is to secure aid for the injured person. Even then, you’re still required to provide your information once help has arrived.

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