US Ski Areas Struggle with Litigation Risk

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US Ski Areas Struggle with Litigation Risk

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Admin posted May-2009

Multiple reports from different US states this week reflect the attempt by ski areas across the country to lessen the danger of law suits from bankrupting their operations.
Ski laws vary across the US with most states with ski areas having some specific legislation on wintersports. In each case there is a balance to be struck between the responsibilities of the ski area operator and those of the skier or boarder to recognise that skiing is 'inherently dangerous' and that an accident may happen however well the ski area had attempted to lessen the chances of such an event.

Some states like Alaska have relatively clear legislation which puts greater onus on the skier or boarder to take responsibility for their actions rather than blaming the ski area, others give a stronger weighting to skiers and boarders who are injured and claim against the ski area.

As well as the claims themselves, ski areas are suffering from increasing insurance premiums, with one ski area that hadn't had a single claim in the past decade noting it now had to pay twice as much for insurance than it did in 2001.

In Colorado another aspect of the issue has been a move by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to launch a cinema advertisement targeting what they call 'lawsuit abuse' and featuring a seven year old boy from Vail who was sued in 2007 by a man who claimed that the boy skiing over the back of his skis led him to fall over. The boy's family disputed the reaso0nableness of the claim, but their insurance company eventually paid the man an out-of-court settlement.

"Lawsuits are turning the American dream into a litigation horror film," said U.S. Chamber ILR President Lisa Rickard. "This movie trailer about this family's legal nightmare warns that even those who play by the rules can still have their lives turned upside-down by costly, frivolous lawsuits."

Courtesy of and © Snow24 plc
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