Assumption of Risk Prevents Skier From Suing Snowboarder

Posted on: June 26th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

A 2010 legal opinion of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of York County that dismissed a skier’s personal injury lawsuit. The PA injury victim had been skiing at Ski Roundtop in York County when he was struck by a snowboarder whom he alleged was not keeping a proper lookout. The defense alleged that crashes between users of a ski slope are part of the inherent risk of skiing.

The York County judge agreed that the Pennsylvania personal injury victim’s claim should be denied based upon the Pennsylvania Skier’s Responsibility Act and the legal doctrine of assumption of the risk. The Superior Court agreed that the risk of colliding with another skier or snowboarder is a risk inherent to the sport of downhill skiing and one that the skier assumed by participating in the sport. When a varied group of skiers and snowboarders proceed down the side of a mountain at a ski resort there is an obvious risk of a collision between the participants. Bell v. Dean, 5 A.3d 266 (Pa. Super. 2010)

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