To best position yourself to obtain compensation for your ski accident injuries from a negligent skier, snowboarder, or ski area, take the following actions (and don’t do others):
- DO take pictures (or video) of the accident scene, the area around the accident scene (including the approach), your ski equipment, witnesses to the accident, Ski Patrollers, and anyone else involved in the accident while at the scene. DO take follow-up pictures (or video) of the scene at least 48 hours after the accident in case the ski area marked the accident scene as a dangerous place to ski.
- DO NOT speak with the Ski Patrol other than to give them your name and contact information and information about your injuries. That’s all you are required to do. Ski Patrollers are ski area employees trained to take notes about ski accidents in a way that best protects the ski resort from liability—regardless of what you say. Above all, DO NOT give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster, Ski Patroller, or ski area representative. They are not your friends.
- DO obtain the names and contact information of the skier or snowboarder who collided with you, any witnesses to the accident, and the Ski Patrollers who attended to you. DO obtain copies of all Ski Patrol notes and reports.
- DO obtain the names of your ski equipment manufacturer and the equipment rental shop personnel who fit your equipment.
- DO avoid signing a waiver, but if you must, obtain copies of the waiver and any contract you signed.
- After a ski accident, if you are asked how you are doing, DO NOT casually respond that you’re “OK” or “feeling fine.” Ski injuries sometimes do not manifest themselves until later. Be careful about what you say. Assume that anything you say will be used against you—especially if you say it to the Ski Patrol and/or medical personnel because they take notes. Be honest about your injuries with your doctor, but DO NOT mention to your doctor or anyone else that you have hired an attorney or are thinking about hiring an attorney.
- DO NOT post anything on social media about the accident or your injuries. DO NOT discuss the accident or your injuries with extended family, friends, or strangers. No one needs to know your business other than you, your doctor, and your lawyer.
- DO keep the ski equipment you were using (unless rented) and ski clothing you were wearing at the time of the accident. DO keep your ski pass and/or lift ticket.
- As soon as possible after the ski accident, DO find a quiet place and write a detailed narrative of the accident, from the time you boarded the lift to the time the Ski Patrol took you down the mountain for medical attention. Include, for example, (i) a description of the weather and visibility, (ii) the name and a hand drawn map of the ski trail and the accident, (iii) the ski trail conditions (such as crowded, type of terrain, bare spots, and obstacles such as rocks, bushes, trees, fences, signs, barriers, tree branches, ice), (iv) a narrative of precisely what happened, and (v) the names of witnesses and the Ski Patrollers who attended to you.
- DO keep a daily journal about your injuries, pain, and how they have affected you, your family, and your everyday life and mood, including the hygiene habits, chores, tasks, and activities you can no longer perform or no longer perform without assistance.