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Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law
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Can I File a Claim for a Snow Sport Injury in New Mexico?

December is upon us, and it’s a popular time for people to enjoy cold-weather activities, including snow sports such as skiing and snowboarding. According to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), during the 2020–2021 season a considerable amount of ski areas were operating in the United States—462 total, and nine in New Mexico.

Perhaps you or a loved one enjoy snow sports and have visited a ski area recently. If you or a loved one have sustained an injury while skiing or snowboarding in New Mexico, you are not alone. Injuries sustained from skiing and snowboarding accidents are on a spectrum in terms of severity, with the most serious and debilitating being catastrophic injuries and those that result in fatalities.

If it can be proven that your injury is due to another party’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. If you feel that you may be eligible for compensation, it is vital that you consult an attorney experienced in representing clients with personal injury cases. Michael J. Doyle, Attorney at Law, is committed to helping people who have suffered injuries understand their options in pursuit of just compensation.

Types of Skiing and Snowboarding Accidents

Skiing and snowboarding accidents can occur due to a variety of factors such as human negligence, malfunctioning equipment, and dangerous natural elements.


Collisions are one of the most common types of skiing and snowboarding accidents. A collision could occur between two people—for instance, two people skiing or snowboarding.

Skiers and snowboarders (especially amateur ones) are also at risk of colliding with stationary objects, such as trees or lift poles.

Failed Equipment

Injuries can occur due to defective equipment. This equipment could belong to you or the ski resort.

Human Negligence

Some people sustain injuries due to the negligence of employees at the ski resort. You may not have received adequate training from an instructor regarding safety precautions to take on the slopes. Another possible scenario is that an employee may not have been paying proper attention while operating a chairlift you were seated on.

Unsafe Conditions

While a ski resort may sound like an inherently dangerous place to some, there are certain areas within the resort that should be considered safe, such as areas that experience ample foot traffic. If you were injured after a slip-and-fall accident on icy ground, for instance, the resort may be at fault for not keeping the walking surface safe and free of ice.

Although less common, it is not unheard of for skiers to be injured or even killed during avalanches. If this occurred to you, the ski resort may be at fault if they failed to follow avalanche prevention and control measures.

Types of Skiing and Snowboarding Injuries

As mentioned previously, injuries incurred from snow sports are on a wide spectrum, ranging from minor to catastrophic.

Most Common Injuries

  • Head
  • Neck and Shoulders
    • Whiplash
    • Fractures
    • Torn Rotator Cuffs
    • Shoulder Separation
    • Shoulder Dislocation
  • Back and Spine
    • Herniated Discs
    • Lower Back Pain
  • Hands
    • Skier’s Thumb
    • Wrist Sprains
    • Finger Fractures
  • Knees and Legs
    • ACL and PCL Ruptures
    • Meniscus Injuries
    • Fractures

Catastrophic Injuries

During the 2020–2021 winter season, the NSAA reported 41 catastrophic incidents across U.S. ski areas. The NSAA cited collisions with trees as the primary cause of catastrophic injuries for skiers and snowboarders.

A catastrophic injury leaves long-term effects and is financially and emotionally tolling, typically preventing an individual from performing gainful work and leading a normal life.

Common types of catastrophic injuries include:

Catastrophic injuries can cause significant neurological trauma, as well as full or partial paralysis.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) may not be immediately apparent. Symptoms of a TBI include:

  • Memory Recall Issues
  • Constant Fatigue
  • Difficulty Focusing
  • Nausea
  • Vertigo
  • Chronic Headaches and Migraines
  • Death

It is important that you seek medical attention right away after sustaining an injury skiing or snowboarding. Head trauma is serious, and you need proper medical attention as soon as possible.


Per the NSAA, there were 48 reported skier and snowboarder fatalities at U.S. ski areas during the 2020–2021 season. The primary cause of these fatalities is collision with objects.

Safety on the Slopes
While we have discussed the sorts of injuries one can incur while skiing or snowboarding, it’s also important to highlight precautions you should take when on the slopes.

  1. Be Aware of Your Surroundings: Pay close attention to weather conditions, stationary objects, and other people in your vicinity on the slopes.
  2. Wear a Helmet: Because of the risk of suffering a TBI on the slopes, it’s vital you wear a helmet.
  3. Avoid Reckless Behavior: Understand your responsibility on the slopes—this isn’t just about your safety, but also the safety of your fellow skiers and snowboarders.
  4. Stick to Your Skill Level: If you’re a beginner or intermediate skier, don’t venture onto the advanced slopes. Leave those for advanced skiers and snowboarders.

Can I File if I Signed a Waiver?

If you’ve been to a ski resort, you may have been required to sign a liability waiver. By signing, you agree that if you incur any injuries during your stay at the resort, the owner and instructors are not liable.

Here’s the catch: liability waivers don’t always hold up in court. Not all liability waivers are of the same quality, meaning some are written better than others.

If you feel that a ski resort is responsible for your injury, a skilled attorney can analyze any liability waivers you’ve signed and help you determine if you are eligible to collect compensation.

How Long Do I Have to File?

According to New Mexico’s statute of limitations, you have up to three years to file a personal injury claim. An injury incurred while participating in a snow sport would be classified as a personal injury.

It is wise, however, that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible after your injury. The sooner you file, the better your chances of collecting compensation for your injury.

Types of Settlements

Depending on the circumstances surrounding a snow sport injury, you may be eligible for compensation. This compensation can cover:

  • Medical bills (present and future)
  • Lost wages (present and future)
  • Replacement or repair of personal property
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
    • Consortium relates to the legal rights of spouses.
  • Loss of life
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Punitive damages
    • Punitive damages are a form of compensation that you can receive if another person is proven to be at fault for your injury due to negligent behavior.

Injuries, especially catastrophic injuries, can be life-altering and affect a person both physically and emotionally. If you have any questions regarding collecting compensation for your or a loved one’s skiing or snowboarding injury, contact a qualified attorney promptly.

Call Us Today

Michael J. Doyle, Attorney at Law has nearly 20 years of experience representing clients with personal injury claims. You can count on his attention to your case and his dedication to exploring what your options are in collecting compensation for your injury. Our trusted legal team shares his compassion for injured clients and are ready to help.

Call us today at (505) 219-2176 or submit your information here to schedule your free consultation.