Now that our first snow storm of the season is upon us, many are hitting the slopes to ski, snow board or go snow tubing. As with any other activity where there is a risk of being injured, many, if not all places of business will have patrons sign a form releasing the company of any repercussions if you should get injured while skiing or snow tubing. Many people who are injured on a ski slope or while snow tubing feel that they are not able to bring forth a lawsuit if they were injured on the premises because they signed the release form. That may not always be the case.
The Beasley Firm represented a woman, who was seriously injured at Camelback, a snow tubing resort in Pennsylvania, when an employee recklessly sent two more snow tubing families down the hill immediately after our client. As a result, our client sustained multiple, serious fractures to her leg, which eventually required our client to have surgery to insert two metal plates and fourteen screws into her ankle.
Just like many other patrons that had visited Camelback, or other ski resorts, our client had signed an agreement form acknowledging the dangers of snow tubing, including a release of any injuries she suffered as “the result of negligence or any other improper conduct on the part of the snow tubing facility.” This kind of release is commonly used by amusement parks, ski resorts, dive operations, water parks and other amusement facilities. There had been efforts in the past to challenge such releases, but Pennsylvania courts generally threw those cases out until now.
Beasley Firm attorney, Barbara Axelrod, successfully argued in front of both the Pennsylvania Superior Court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that our clients case was different because not only was the ski resort employee negligent; he was also reckless. Ms. Axelrod found decisions from across the country and in Pennsylvania (PA) that dated as far back as 1854, and convinced a court in Pennsylvania that our Courts cannot, in good conscious, accept such release forms when there was reckless conduct on behalf of an employee. By doing so, it would strip people of their right at the most basic level of protection and violate public policy. She argued that the courts should not enforce releases which let businesses get away with not providing even the most basic and minimum levels of safety to people on their premises. The Court agreed and on July 18, 2012, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released its opinion, agreeing with the injured plaintiff, and attorney Axelrod, that a pre-accident release form of reckless conduct is never enforceable in Pennsylvania. The Court held that the releases were void as against public policy. That decision will have an immediate and broad impact across Pennsylvania, granting consumers new protections, and forcing businesses to take precautions to protect their customers.
If you or a family member was injured while skiing, on a snow mobile, snow tubing or at a ski resort, you would want to contact a law firm that is not only familiar with these injuries, but one that has also changed the law to protect those that have been injured. We are that firm. Please feel free to contact one of our resort injury team members for a strictly confidential and free consultation. To date, we have been awarded over $2 billion on behalf of our injured clients. We were there when they needed us and we are here for you now.
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