Legal implications behind snow country incidents

Chaeron

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Liability exposure and associated insurance challenges in Australia has seen an attempt by some parties to ‘professionalise’ outdoor activities - i.e. certification requirements for those who lead club expeditions, and a movement to regulate what commercial operators want to define as an ‘industry’.

This was happening in NSW & VIC, but there was some pushback. Still, uni rock climbing clubs and similar organisations have rejigged their public liability insurance and have also tightened their membership and administrative procedures in response.
 
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sly_karma

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Tanuki

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Only tangential to the OP sorry, but Australia needs NZ-style no-fault insurance legislation for the outdoors sector.

https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2012/01/why-not-adopt-nz’s-no-fault-national-insurance/

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06...es-close-as-insurers-refuse-coverage/12333032

No I'm not a legal type, sue me.
See me in court tomorrow morning 10am. I'll have the deposition ready. Just an excuse to get outside now that the lockdown had been lifted.
 
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echidna

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Interesting. Basically a codified (and funded) acceptance that shit happens.
Would it be so different to our no-fault Workcover, or even no-fault divorce for that matter ? ;)

Ooooh I'm gonna get some hate from the ski.com legal demographic.
 

telecrag

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Friends used to run Australias biggest MTB race, but escalating insurance costs, (hence higher entry) and falling numbers, and its a thing of the past.

A heck of a lot of people get hurt skiing, and even more (per capita) on MTB, does this mean the terms of a ticket actually work, ie, at own risk? So you can only sue if you can prove your injury was caused by anothers negligence?
 
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Fozzie Bear

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skifree

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Interesting read. Legal actions being pursued in the wake of incidents in which no one was killed or injured.

https://www.outdoorrisk.com/single-...5qhOudTNoi8aIbGKqSh4n-Deo8it3enWjbIH8m-B1NfrQ
The Everest case is laughable and demonstrates the attitude that all you need to do to succeed in these extreme activities is enough money.

The second with the Avy is most curious and has huge potential set the wrong sort of precedents. My conclusion is the County suing should sue itself for not closing the slope / access to it which endangered it's equipment. Therefore it is equally at fault in the scenario based on the information available.
 

sly_karma

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Kinda NZ in a nutshell.
Take their access roads to ski hills for instance.
Steep drop off on one side. Put a White post.
Crazy steep drop off... Put a bigger white post.
Then there's Mexico. Riding in the back of a ute? Way of life. Live fireworks shows with zero barricades or crowd control? No worries. Vehicle inspections? Nah. Restaurant inspections? I could go on. Now, do they have higher rates of injury and mortality? You'd think so, but it's tacitly accepted.
 
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skifree

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Obviously on the safe roads then.
I thought the frozen mud, view, single track and switchbacks of the Remarks road was impressive. An empty bus went over the edge while I was there.

Best was being at the back of the back bowl shuttle bus which is hung out over the abyss with the rear wheels run right to the very very edge while doing a 3 point turn after loading (why after???) to take us back.

The Cardrona trail was pretty good too.
 

Donza

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I thought the frozen mud, view, single track and switchbacks of the Remarks road was impressive. An empty bus went over the edge while I was there.

Best was being at the back of the back bowl shuttle bus which is hung out over the abyss with the rear wheels run right to the very very edge while doing a 3 point turn after loading (why after???) to take us back.

The Cardrona trail was pretty good too.
TC road is the gnarliest in Otago.
Mind you Mt Olympus
WR7Dq1yjZF1TZ_KziXe1g9DlRmVwtKeznIJZ8k9mMCHR3A5wC13KWBavLArV44TbpHGUbWWVKXr2BrUDUhx1OVZj2hXJ9s0MQZ63xabtPQg4L60ySZQoEgeE90I


And Lyford are pretty crazy

image
 

skichanger

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I thought the frozen mud, view, single track and switchbacks of the Remarks road was impressive. An empty bus went over the edge while I was there.

Best was being at the back of the back bowl shuttle bus which is hung out over the abyss with the rear wheels run right to the very very edge while doing a 3 point turn after loading (why after???) to take us back.

The Cardrona trail was pretty good too.
So I just googled bus accidents at the Remarkables. Apparently there have been a few. We went there in the early 1990s. Whilst the road was "interesting" we did not think it was that bad. We had hired cars and noted that once we got in the ruts caused by the buses it would be hard to get out of them and thus there was not an issue unless the buses went off the edge. mmmm

Cardrona and the Crown of the range road were meant to be pretty bad. But they were ok. As always, drive to the conditons.

I went to Mt Hutt in 1980. Having the bus do a 3 point turn to take some of the cornes was interesting. People I stayed with in Christchurch had narrowly escaped going of the edge with their VW beetle a bit before we were there. Definitely one of the most challenging roads I have traveled on.
 
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skichanger

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So much so wrong with both those cases.

2nd case is a bit like Victoria and some of the people who have caught Covid-19. Even if you have done something wrong the authorities need to know what has happened. Punish people and they stop providing essential information which just makes things worse.
 

DPS Driver

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Re the Everest case. A mountain guide and ski guides primary goal is to get the clients home safely.

Fun, adventure & accomplishing set goals, are all secondary to the primary objective of safety. ie keeping your guests alive. As a guide, it's not a good look when you get people killed. Not great for the career.

Hell! that's why guides exist. If that clown wanted to climb Everest without regard to the conditions and the safety calls why did he bother hiring a guide. He hired a guide to leverage his or her experience, knowledge, decision making abilities in a challenging environment, networking and team working abilities to dial in the collective wisdom of the broader Everest climbing community to keep him alive. Fnkn knob.
 

essjaywhy

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Fox Peak Ski area is a pretty engaging Road as well,

the New Zealand Acc system is pretty good but one of the negatives is that there’s a real lack of personal accountability, yeah I’m a beginner snowboarder from offshore ~ I can jump off this bluff and if it goes wrong well I don’t pay any medical bills directly , so what the heck

This year I hosted off-road cyclist from Spain doing 3000 km and was utterly stunned when they said they had no personal travel medical insurance here, just relying on The accident compensation system and free medical
 

sbm_

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The second with the Avy is most curious and has huge potential set the wrong sort of precedents. My conclusion is the County suing should sue itself for not closing the slope / access to it which endangered it's equipment. Therefore it is equally at fault in the scenario based on the information available.

Yeah, if it's correct that the danger rating was "Moderate" at the time, the skiers were really not doing anything wrong. If it was "High" than it's a more nuanced question.

So would they blame the CAIC (the forecasters?) Do we blame the BOM if they don't get a storm warning right and flash flood/hail damage happens that might have been mitigated?

Colorado being the hell of unstable snow that it is, they often have a difficult condition I've heard jokingly called "Scary Moderate" where there is a low possibility of a high magnitude slide - it's very unlikely the slope will release, but if it does go, the whole thing will go. I'd guess this avalanche happened with similar conditions.
 

DPS Driver

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The last time I was at Olympus, 4WD's were putting on four chains, we helped a young bloke who almost rolled his mothers new Prado off the edge. The car slid 50 metres back down the road just up from the lower hut with us trying to guide it away from the edge as we slid with it. That wasn't too much fun. The road was like an ice rink.
When we did get up there the snow was awesome, from the overnight dump.
 

shabu_shabu

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A woman has lost her Supreme Court case where she sued Perisher after being hit by a Perisher ski instructor on Olympic back in 2014. The instructor is named in the decision for those who are curious..

https://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/decision/175debe1990ff645a9fb70ba

From the today's SMH article on the decision:
"Perisher Ski Resort is not liable to pay damages to a woman who was injured when one of its ski instructors collided with her because the accident was an "obvious risk" of engaging in a dangerous recreational activity, the NSW Supreme Court has found.

Justice Richard Cavanagh found in a decision this month an August 2014 collision between the woman and a ski instructor employed by Perisher, both competent and experienced skiers who were not skiing together, was caused by the negligence of the instructor.

However, Justice Cavanagh found Perisher did not have to pay damages because it could rely on a defence in the state's Civil Liability Act (CLA) which carves out liability for negligence in cases where the harm suffered by a person is the "result of the materialisation of an obvious risk of a dangerous recreational activity"."
Apparently skiing is a dangerous sport. Go figure.
 

DPS Driver

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A woman has lost her Supreme Court case where she sued Perisher after being hit by a Perisher ski instructor on Olympic back in 2014. The instructor is named in the decision for those who are curious..

https://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/decision/175debe1990ff645a9fb70ba

From the today's SMH article on the decision:
"Perisher Ski Resort is not liable to pay damages to a woman who was injured when one of its ski instructors collided with her because the accident was an "obvious risk" of engaging in a dangerous recreational activity, the NSW Supreme Court has found.

Justice Richard Cavanagh found in a decision this month an August 2014 collision between the woman and a ski instructor employed by Perisher, both competent and experienced skiers who were not skiing together, was caused by the negligence of the instructor.

However, Justice Cavanagh found Perisher did not have to pay damages because it could rely on a defence in the state's Civil Liability Act (CLA) which carves out liability for negligence in cases where the harm suffered by a person is the "result of the materialisation of an obvious risk of a dangerous recreational activity"."
Apparently skiing is a dangerous sport. Go figure.
I've edited this post several times as I keep changing my mind over whether this is right or not.
Is this judgement a fair assessment of the situation.

Skiing is a dangerous activity, particularly within the resort boundary. Collisions and accidents do happen regularly. If witnesses confirm that both parties were skiing in control and not being reckless and it was an accident then, it is what it is. So from that perspective I agree with the judgement, provided neither party was proved to be negligent.

But if one party was skiing way too fast and / or out of control and endangering others then it may be a different story. The onus of proof would need to be considerable I would imagine.

This would be an interesting discussion with the legal eagles we have on the forum.

How far would someone have to go to clearly prove the other party was being recklessly negligent???? Would witnesses alone suffice??? In this case where the instructor was found to be negligent, one can only assume suing a ski instructor isn't going to be worthwhile, whereas going after the resort far more potential.

I was of the belief that the resorts insurance covered any accidents involving staff. Not sure, is this a claim over and above an insurance payout??? Has this woman received any reparation for her injuries???
 
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Beerman

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I’ve driven up most of the NZ ski areas mentioned above in 1996, in a 4 berth camper :).
Please recommence normal viewing.
 
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