Court Discusses Assumption of the Risk Doctrine in Recent Ski Accident Case

In some Florida personal injury lawsuits, the defendant can claim that the plaintiff should not be able to pursue a claim for compensation based on the fact that the plaintiff assumed the risks involved in participating in the activity that ultimately caused their injuries. This type of defense is common in cases involving skiing, sky diving, jet-skiing, and bungee jumping.

Skiing the PowIn Florida, there are two types of assumption of the risk:  express and implied. Express assumption of the risk generally involves a party’s acknowledgement of the risks involved prior to participating in the activity, usually through a release waiver or some other contract. Implied assumption of the risk, however, does not require a signed release waiver, and it can be established through risks that were either known at the time or should have been known.

A recent case illustrates how one federal court of appeals applied the assumption of the risk doctrine to preclude an accident victim’s ability to recover compensation for his injuries.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff, a ski instructor, was skiing with some friends after a storm that left about a foot of fresh powder. The group sought out a large mountain bowl that had not been groomed. One skier went down first and video-taped the remaining skiers as they came down one by one.

When the plaintiff’s turn came, he descended without issue until he reached a field of boulders that had been lightly covered in snow. The plaintiff skied between two of the large boulders, but the snow between the boulders collapsed, sending the plaintiff down about 15 feet to the bare ground.

As a result of his fall, the plaintiff sustained serious injuries and filed a personal injury claim against the ski resort. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the resort was negligent in the maintenance of the run, and also for failing to warn him of the dangers involved with skiing that particular terrain.

The court rejected the plaintiff’s claim, finding that, as a matter of law, he assumed the risks involved with skiing the off-trail terrain. The court noted that the plaintiff was an experienced skier who intentionally sought out this type of terrain, knowing the risks involved. The court also explained that the resort did not owe a duty to the plaintiff because he assumed the risks involved in skiing off-trail, so the resort had no obligation to place a warning sign atop the run.

Have You Been Injured in a Pay-to-Play Activity?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Florida accident after engaging in a pay-to-play activity, such as sky diving, jet skiing, boating, parasailing, water skiing, or mountain biking, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. While the issue of assumption of the risk may arise at some point, it would be a mistake to assume that to be the case. Instead, discuss your case with one of the skilled Florida personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank. At Friedman, Rodman & Frank, we represent victims in all types of Florida injury cases. Call 877-448-8585 to schedule your free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Verdict in Favor of Patient Reversed by Court Due to Patient’s Failure to Prove Causation, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published April 19, 2017.

Accident Victims Should Not Be Pressured to Accept Settlement Offers by Pushy Florida Insurance Adjusters, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published April 5, 2018.

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