Property owners and those who provide services to the public have a basic duty of care. They must provide a reasonably safe environment. However, property owners and those offering services do not have the responsibility to guarantee the safety of visitors in all situations. The question in determining liability is whether the property owner was reasonable in the protections taken to prevent injury. This question is answered by considering many factors.
One issue that can complicate things significantly is when a victim is engaging in an activity with inherent dangers. For example, if someone goes skiing, there are natural risks associated with skiing. The owners of ski resorts cannot be responsible every time someone gets hurt at the resort.
The same is true when someone does any other sort of dangerous activity, from boating and water skiing to sky diving or zip lining. In situations where you engage in inherently risky activities, including when you sign a release of liability, it is important to understand your rights. An experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer can help you to determine if you can make a case for compensation after an injury in these complex situations.
Assumption of the Risk and Atlanta Personal Injury Claims
One recent case in which a 16-year-old skier died by suffocating illustrates the complexity of cases when victims engage in inherently dangerous activities. The young skier was skiing alone on the edge of a groomed trail according to Claims Journal. He fell headfirst into a tree well, where he died due to suffocation. His family is suing for medical expenditures, other expenses, and compensation for non-economic damages.
The basis of the lawsuit brought by the skier’s parents and brother is that the ski resort failed to provide adequate warnings about the dangers of tree wells. The plaintiffs claim the tree well was very close to the area where skiers dismount from the ski lift and was close to the edge of the groomed trail provided by the resort. The area where the tree well was located was not restricted or blocked off in any way, and no warning notices about possible dangers were posted. Further, just 10 days after the 16-year-old skier, another death occurred in a tree well, this time of a 29-year-old snow boarder.
The ski resort contended that the lawsuit should be dismissed because tree wells are an “inherent danger” of skiing and because the 16-year-old was killed because he was not skiing within his ability. The judge, however, ruled against the ski resort’s request to dismiss the case and indicated the case should go to trial so a jury could decide if the resort should be liable or not.
It will be up to the family of the victim to prove that the ski resort was negligent, and that the resort should be held accountable for the death, while the ski resort would have the obligation of proving the victim assumed the risk if the resort wants to avoid liability. In cases like this where there is a question of whether a victim assumed the risk of the particular thing which caused his death, having an attorney providing legal representation becomes especially important.
The Atlanta injury lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent victims after an accidental injury. Call today at 404-991-5950 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.