Girardi | Keese

California wrongful death: Proposed bill could improve ski safety

Some California ski enthusiasts may be surprised to learn that our state is the only state known for skiing that actually has no real ski safety legislation in place. When skiers suffer personal injury or even wrongful death on California ski slopes, resorts are not required to report them to the state or make them public. One state senator believes that ski accidents should become a matter of public record and is pushing for the passage of a ski safety bill.

The bill would make it mandatory for California's 24 ski areas to report when accidents involving injuries or deaths occur on their slopes. According to a group which pushes for ski safety, the California Ski and Safety Organization, hundreds of ski accidents go unreported on an annual basis. One 9-year-old girl became one of those hundreds when she fell off a ski chair and slammed into the ground 32 feet below.

The ski chair did not have a safety bar, and it took six surgeries over five days to save the little girl's life. Her mother pointed out just how close to losing her daughter they came. The senator said that it's important for the public to know just how safe-or dangerous-the state's ski slopes are. His bill would require ski areas to an annual safety plan meant to increase safety on their slopes, and prominently display that plan on their websites.

Those California residents who have already lost loved ones in ski accidents may wish to research the possibility of filing a wrongful death lawsuit to hold a potentially negligent ski resort accountable. This type of personal injury suit can help a family recover the final costs that have been incurred due to the death of a loved one. They can also help provide for any dependent family members who may have been left behind. This obviously cannot make up for the loss of a family provider, but it can help relieve some of the financial strain.

Source: NBC 4 Southern California, "NBC4 I-Team Investigation Prompts Introduction of Latest Ski Safety Bill," Joel Grover, Chris Henao and Phil Drechsler, Feb. 27, 2013

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