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Wrongful Deaths and Backcountry Skiers: Who’s Liable?

Let’s first define what a wrongful death is: it’s when someone’s death is caused either negligently or through intentional harm. When it comes to a case, it’s up to the deceased person’s estate to decide if they want to file a lawsuit against the party who is legally liable for the death. So when it comes to backcountry skiers, who is liable for their deaths in cases such as an avalanche or other means? And how can families from Provo, Utah know when it’s right to hire a wrongful death lawyer?

Who Is Liable?

In order to hold the defendant liable, the plaintiffs, according to, “must meet the same burden of proof that the victim would have had to meet had the victim lived.” In other words, if a backcountry skier from Provo was fully prepared for any accident that may occur gets into an accident, the company or person who owns the property on which the skier is in would have to show that they didn’t owe the skier any obligation of taking care of him — or the area around him.

There are many areas in which a wrongful death lawyer would have to look into. Some areas require that the skier sign a liability form for not only their equipment but saying that the skier is aware the risks and dangers that are involved with back country skiing, including knowing avalanche risks.

The Cases

In 2007 in Utah, at Canyons Resort, Jesse Williams a skier from Colorado, died in an in-bounds avalanche accident. In 2013, the verdict was reached claiming that Canyons didn’t fail to use “reasonable care in its efforts to eliminate or alleviate the avalanche risk,” (Alan Maguire, The Park Record). So the skier was found at fault.

In a case where you would hire a wrongful death lawyer, would be in a case in which the family who lost the person has lost company or support from the deceased. In the case of a parent losing a child who didn’t necessarily lose support, a lawsuit can be filed by any beneficiaries.

By |2016-03-25T16:37:48-07:00March 25th, 2016|wrongful death|Comments Off on Wrongful Deaths and Backcountry Skiers: Who’s Liable?

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