Nevada Ski Accident Law in a Nutshell
The Nevada Skier and Snowboarder Safety Act describes the duties, rights, and liability of skiers, snowboarders, aerial tramway passengers, and ski area operators. Here are the key aspects of Nevada ski law in a nutshell.
Ski collision lawsuits allowed against negligent skiers and snowboarders?
Lawsuits allowed against negligent ski resort operators?
Yes. Ski area operators and their employees, including ski patrol members, whose negligent and/or grossly negligent actions or failure to act cause property damage or injury to a skier or snowboarder, may be held accountable by the injured person or damaged property owner for violating Nevada ski accident law.
Yes—may include loss of earnings, lost employee benefits, damage to the ability to earn money in the future, loss of time, household expenses, medical and hospital expenses, home and vehicle modification and other out-of-pocket expenses, permanent injury and disability, physical pain and suffering, physical impairment, mental and emotional pain and suffering, inconvenience, emotional stress, impairment of the quality of life, loss of consortium, loss of affection, loss of lifestyle, loss of society, loss of companionship, loss of the aid and comfort of each other, and/or loss of the enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages available?
Yes—Nevada allows the recovery of punitive damages when the skier or ski area operator at fault acted with oppression, fraud, or malice.
Statute of limitations?
A lawsuit must be filed within two (2) years of the date of the injury or property damage, or the claim will be forever barred.
Duties and Liability of Skiers, Boarders, and Tram Passengers Under Nevada Ski Law
Under Nevada ski accident law, skiers and snowboarders must ski within the range of their abilities, maintain a proper lookout, control their speed and course, and generally avoid skiing in a manner that could cause injury. A skier or boarder must not overtake any other skier or snowboarder except to avoid contact and must grant the right-of-way to the overtaken person. When a ski collision occurs, the uphill skier is presumed to have had the best opportunity to avoid the collision and is generally held responsible. Nevada ski law does not limit a skier’s or boarder’s right to sue another skier or snowboarder for damage, injury, or death resulting from the other skier’s or boarder’s actions or failure to act.
That said, skiers and snowboarders must: (i) locate and heed all signs, warnings, and other information posted by ski area operators, (ii) remain a safe distance from vehicles, signs and snow grooming and transportation equipment, and (iii) avoid skiers or snowboarders in motion when entering a ski slope, run, or trail, and when beginning to ski or board from a stationary position.
On the other hand, under Nevada ski injury law, skiers and snowboarders must not: (i) use a ski or a snowboard unless it is attached by a strap or equipped with a device capable of stopping a ski or snowboard when not attached to a skier or snowboarder, (ii) cross the uphill path of a surface lift except at designated locations, (iii) stop in such a way or place that obstructs a ski slope, run, or trail, or where the skier or boarder is not safely visible to uphill skiers or snowboarders, and/or (iv) ski or snowboard in an area within the ski area that is posted as closed.
While riding on a chair lift or aerial tramway in Nevada, skiers and snowboarders must not: (i) board a chair lift without sufficient knowledge or physical ability to use it safely, (ii) board a chair lift that is posted as closed or not in operation, (iii) board or exit a chair lift except in designated areas, (iv) intentionally throw or drop an object from a chair lift, (v) intentionally throw an object at a chair lift, (vi) fail or refuse to comply with reasonable instructions given by ski area employees and by signage, (vii) place any object in the uphill path of a surface lift, and/or (viii) conduct themselves in a manner that interferes with the safe operation of a chair lift or the safety of another passenger, skier, or snowboarder.
Under Nevada ski accident law, skiers and snowboarders also must not ski, board, or ride uphill on a chair lift while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs not taken pursuant to a prescription. Skiers and snowboarders involved in a collision in which another person is injured must provide their name and contact information to the injured person, the ski operator, and the Ski Patrol before leaving the accident scene (or as soon as reasonably possible after leaving the scene to secure aid for the injured person). An injured skier or snowboarder also must notify the ski area operator and Ski Patrol as soon as reasonably possible after being injured. Any skier or snowboarder who violates a duty in this paragraph will be guilty of a misdemeanor.
An operator may revoke the privilege of a person to ski or snowboard in a ski area if the skier or snowboarder violates any of his or her duties and obligations on the slopes. Violations of Nevada ski law causing property damage or injuring another skier, boarder, or tramway passenger—such as a collision with another skier or boarder—also could result in a civil lawsuit by the injured person against the negligent person or ski area operator.
Duties and Liability of Ski Area Operators Under Nevada Ski Accident Law
Other than generally requiring ski area operators to properly hire and train their employees and operate and maintain their ski areas in a safe and efficient manner, Nevada ski law imposes only “effective signage” duties on ski resort operators.
For example, ski area operators must prominently post and maintain signs in simple and concise language by each chair lift, with information for the protection and instruction of passengers. Ski resort operators also must prominently post and maintain signs where passengers board chair lifts, directing persons who are not familiar with the operation of the chair lift to ask an attendant for assistance and instruction. Other specifically required chair lift area signs include:
- “Remove pole straps from wrists” at an area for loading skiers and snowboarders.
- “Safety gate” where applicable.
- “Stay on tracks” where applicable.
- “Keep ski tips or snowboard up” ahead of any point where a ski or snowboard can regain contact with the ground or snowy surface after a passenger leaves an area for unloading skiers or snowboarders.
- “Prepare to unload” and “check for loose clothing and equipment” not less than 50 feet from an area for unloading skiers or snowboarders.
- “Unload here” at an area for unloading skiers or snowboarders.
Under Nevada snowboard accident law, ski area operators also must post a system of signs: (i) at the entrances to an established ski slope, run or trail to indicate whether any portion of the slope, run or trail is closed and its degree of difficulty, (ii) indicating the boundary of the ski area, except in heavily wooded areas or other terrain that cannot be skied or snowboarded readily, and (iii) warning about each area within the ski area that is an avalanche danger area. If a ski area is open to the public at night, all signs must be adequately lit, and be readable and recognizable under ordinary visibility conditions.
Before opening for business each day, ski area operators must inspect the area for the presence and visibility of all required signage.
Ski area operators must take reasonable steps to minimize dangers and conditions within their control. Operators and their employees, including Ski Patrol members, whose negligent and/or grossly negligent actions or failure to act cause property damage or injury to a skier or boarder, may be held accountable by the injured person or damaged property owner for violating Nevada ski accident law. Ski area operators, however, are not liable for the death or injury of a person or property damage caused or suffered by a skier or snowboarder who knowingly enters an area outside the boundary of a ski area and/or not designated for skiing or snowboarding.
Compensation for Injured Skiers, Boarders, and Tram Passengers Under Nevada Ski Law
Nevada ski accident law allows an injured person (and sometimes, the family of a person injured or killed while skiing) to sue for compensation for his or her injuries due to the actions of another skier, snowboarder, or ski area operator. The types of damages recoverable may include loss of earnings, lost employee benefits, damage to the ability to earn money in the future, loss of time, household expenses, medical and hospital expenses, home and vehicle modification (such as adding a wheelchair ramp, etc.) and other out-of-pocket expenses, permanent injury and disability, physical pain and suffering, physical impairment, mental and emotional pain and suffering, inconvenience, emotional stress, impairment of the quality of life, loss of consortium, loss of affection, loss of lifestyle, loss of society, loss of companionship, loss of the aid and comfort of each other, and/or loss of the enjoyment of life.
Nevada allows the recovery of punitive damages when the guilty skier or ski area operator acted with oppression, fraud, or malice. An injured person entitled to punitive damages may collect (i) up to three times the amount of their compensatory damages if that amount is $100,000 or more, or (ii) up to $300,000 if their compensatory damages are less than $300,000.
If you or your loved one was seriously injured or killed while skiing, snowboarding, or riding a ski lift in Nevada, contact us immediately. Gathering the evidence and interviewing witnesses before they leave the area, or their memories fade, is critical to maximizing your recovery. Time is short. The statute of limitations is running. Call us today.