Who is Liable for Winter Sports Injuries?
During the long, cold winter season, throughout Nova Scotia, many people engage in a variety of outdoor and indoor sports to stay active, healthy, and upbeat. But any activity that takes place on snow or ice has the potential to be hazardous. Winter sports can lead to serious injuries, which may require hospitalization, prolonged rehabilitation periods, and even substantial adjustments to an accident victim’s day-to-day life.
People who engage in winter sports implicitly accept the inherent risks associated with their activities. If you participate in the sport as part of a league or as the guest of a resort, it’s likely you’ll even be required to sign a liability waiver, consenting to the activity’s risks, and indemnifying the host organization against losses resulting from injuries that may occur.
However, if you sustained injuries in a winter sports accident caused by another party’s negligence, malicious intent, or behaviour that falls outside the bounds of fair play, you may be able to pursue legal action.
Of course, when accidents occur during dangerous, high-speed activities, it can be difficult to determine another party’s true intentions, or their culpability for resulting injuries. If you’re unsure if your accident entitles you to pursue financial compensation, a Nova Scotia personal injury lawyer may be able to review the details of your case and advise you of any legal options that may be available to you.
Determining Liability in Skiing and Snowboarding Accidents
Across Nova Scotia, many ski resorts distinguish courses and hills from one another by skill-level. This means that individual skiers and snowboarders are required to take responsibility for their own safety, and select the trails and hills best suited to their experience and prowess. But regardless of their skill level, skiers and snowboarders face the risk of injury-causing accidents each time they hit the slopes.
Injuries commonly sustained in skiing and snowboarding accidents include:
- Knee sprains
- Fractured wrists
- Broken legs
- Shoulder injuries
- Neck, back, and soft tissue injuries
- Ankle or foot sprains
- Skull injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- And more
If you were involved in a skiing or snowboarding accident caused by someone else’s negligence, it can be difficult to prove that their actions led you to sustain injuries. However, depending on the circumstances of the accident, a personal injury lawyer may be able to prove that another party was primarily responsible for the injuries you sustained.
If another skier or snowboarder was behaving dangerously or recklessly on the slopes, and their irresponsible actions caused you to sustain injuries in an accident, they may be considered negligent. Additionally, if your accident was caused by defective products like faulty skis, a personal injury lawyer may be able to prove the manufacturing company’s error caused you to sustain injuries.
Furthermore, if the ski resort’s management knew about hazards on their courses but failed to adequately repair, remove, or warn guests about them, the resort’s administrators may be liable for injuries you sustained as the result of accidents on their premises.
The Impact of Snowmobile Accidents
Recreational snowmobiling can provide Nova Scotians with an exciting escape into snow-covered terrain. For people living in rural communities impacted by heavy snowfalls, operating an off-highway vehicle may be a practical option for essential travel. But, just like any other high-performance machine, snowmobiles can be dangerous, and accidents can cause their riders to sustain serious injuries, and even fatalities.
A report released by Statistics Canada in January 2021 revealed that, on average, 73 Canadians are killed in a snowmobile accident each year. The majority of deadly snowmobile accidents involve only a single vehicle. But fatalities and serious injuries can also occur when one snowmobile collides with another. In fact, 20% of the country’s snowmobile accidents involve more than one vehicle.
According to the Canadian Institute for Health and Information, nearly 1000 people each year are hospitalized because of injuries they’ve sustained in snowmobile accidents. The majority of these accidents are caused by impaired driving. Operating a snowmobile under the influence of alcohol or drugs can result in collisions with other off-highway vehicles. Due to the power and speed of these vehicles, a collision caused by inebriated snowmobiling could lead an accident victim to sustain permanent, life-altering injuries.
If you or a family member was seriously injured in an off-highway vehicle collision, a Nova Scotia snowmobile accident lawyer may be able to review the circumstances of your accident, and explain any legal options that may be available to you. Depending on the nature of your accident, you may be eligible to pursue financial compensation for damages you incurred as a result of your injuries.
Ice Hockey: When is Physical Contact Beyond the Bounds of Fair Play?
Hockey is widely known to be a physically violent sport. Injuries resulting from accidents during gameplay can be serious, with prolonged effects on both a player’s physical and emotional well-being. Traumatic brain injuries, soft tissue injuries, and other serious medical conditions sustained in hockey arenas can even cause permanent damage, which might impact a player’s life and livelihood outside the rink.
If hockey injuries are caused by malicious intent on the ice, the injured player may be able to pursue legal action against the aggressor. That means that if one player intentionally injured another person during a hockey game, the victim may be able to file a lawsuit against them for the costs of damages they incurred. However, in the context of an extremely physical and competitive sport, it can be difficult to prove that a player intentionally harmed someone else on the ice.
By playing recreational hockey, players implicitly accept that risk of injury involved in the sport. However, they also implicitly accept that everyone on the ice has agreed to participate in the game according to the rules of fair play. If a player’s behaviour during the game is found to be outside the ordinary bounds of fair play, they may be considered liable for damages resulting from injuries caused by their unsportsmanlike conduct. In these cases, injured players may not necessarily need to prove that the responsible party had malicious intent. Instead, they may be required to illustrate that their behaviour during the game fell outside the bounds of what a reasonable competitor should expect.
While a player’s natural instincts during gameplay may lead them to engage in overly competitive behaviour, each individual on the ice must be held to a certain standard of care for their fellow players. A failure to uphold this standard through reckless, out of the ordinary behaviour could be considered negligence.
To determine whether a player’s conduct was beyond the bounds of fair play, a lawyer may submit various forms of evidence illustrating:
- The type of league in which the game was played
- The regular level of play within the league
- The rules and regulations of the game determined by the league
- And possibly more
If a lawyer is able to prove that another player’s behaviour on the ice was beyond the bounds of fair play, and that their negligence on the ice caused their client’s accident, the injured player may be eligible to receive financial compensation for the damages they incurred, including:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Ongoing medical care/in-home care
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Adjusted living expenses
- Pain & Suffering
- And possibly more
Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers if You’ve Been Hurt in a Winter Sports Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in a winter sports accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to pursue financial compensation. To discuss the circumstances of the accident and learn about the legal options that may be available to you, contact us today.