Skiing holidays are becoming ever more popular and with more people on the ski slopes the likelihood of an accident is also on the increase. A surprising fact is that over 10% of skiers and snowboarders will start their holiday without any travel insurance. You should make sure that you are covered for any medical bills that you may be presented with due to a skiing accident. You should travel with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which has taken the place of the E111, but you should also have travel insurance. The EHIC will ensure that you get medical attention within the European Union, but you may have to pay some costs which you can claim back later. New research has found that nearly a third of insurance claims are for people who have suffered serious injuries in skiing accidents.
Most people associate skiing accidents with twisted ankles and falling over due to a lack of experience, and these are common occurrences but many accidents can be due to risk taking and this can not only affect the person taking the risk but other people on the slopes. If your injury is due to poor instruction, some other risk-taking skier, or a hazard on the slope then you may be able to claim for compensation. If the instructor does not give the necessary instruction or takes you off-piste and you have an accident you could be able to claim against the ski school. If there is faulty equipment, for example the skis that you hire are defective or if the ski lift is not maintained properly and you have an accident you may be able to claim compensation from the ski resort.
Make sure you read the small print in any insurance policy to check that the activity you are taking is not excluded, nearly all policies will include a clause stating that if you are under the influence of drink or drugs then your claim will be invalid.
If you should have an accident skiing then you should keep you ski pass and all medical records, you should take photographs and find witnesses to the accident.
What is the law in case of an accident? Judges consider that the person who is skiing behind always has to adjust their speed and exercise extreme caution. They also establish that the skier assumes the risk of an accidental collision with other skiers and it is necessary that the person who goes skiing adjusts their speed to their own expertise and the conditions of the slopes to avoid accidents. Many court cases have been lost by not having witnesses. The FIS regulations (International Ski Federation) state that the witnesses of an accident are obliged to stop and identify themselves. Cases can also be lost by claiming for damages from the ski resort or your insurance company, rather than from the perpetrator (the other skier) causing the injury. The plaintiff has to provide the burden of proof and in case of doubt, it is presumed both skiers have behaved correctly and that the accident is fortuitous, so the evidence of witnesses is essential.
Always remember that if you are injured you must keep the medical report and any receipts to be able to make your claim. The advice of a reputable lawyer is always your best insurance.