Most state Skier Safety Acts and several court decisions have stated that skier v. skier collisions are an inherent risk of skiing. Colorado is one of the exceptions to that rule. The Colorado Skier Safety Act specifically allows people involved in a collision to sue each other. Colorado Revised Statute § 33-44-109. Duties of skiers – penalties.
(1) Notwithstanding any provision of law or statute to the contrary, the risk of a skier/skier collision is neither an inherent risk nor a risk assumed by a skier in an action by one skier against another.
This seems to have been taken to a new level in a case over a collision January 2007 at Beaver Creek‘s Arrowhead Ski Resort. The Vail Daily is reporting in Boy, 8, sued in Beaver Creek ski collision that an eight year old boy allegedly skied into a 60 year old man causing him injuries.
The 8 year old boy claims he only tapped the elderly gentleman with his ski boots. The 60 year old claims he tore a tendon in his shoulder and suffered considerably medical expenses. The suit is in Federal District Court in Denver meaning the damages allegedly suffered are at a minimum in excess of $75,000. The boy’s father is being sued because you cannot sue a child in Colorado; you sue the parents of the child for the child’s actions.
The issue has escalated with the plaintiff requesting a gag order be imposed on the parties. The plaintiff was receiving so many nasty phone calls and hate communications he hoped it would keep the defendant from commenting and stirring people up over the suit. The plaintiff, no matter whom, good or bad, should not be receiving this type of communications. We are of course a civilized society. As long as civilized societies allow you to sue kids. (See Gag order denied in Beaver Creek collision lawsuit)
Nor are we discounting the injuries the plaintiff received.
The bigger problem is Colorado allows lawsuits by people for things that most states call an accident. You assume the risk of all the things that can go wrong when skiing. The Colorado Ski Act in the same section that allows people involved in a collision to sue each other prohibits the parties in a collision from suing the resort for the collision.
If the actions of a collision are so severe then the reckless party can be charged with a criminal act that should be enough of a deterrent. If you are skiing so recklessly that your actions are criminal, if you hit someone you will be charged with a criminal act. (See SkiSafety.com)