Is Compensation Available for Injuries Sustained During Outdoor Recreational Activities?

One of the best kept secrets about living in New York is how easy it is to escape the crowds and enjoy the outdoors. The Northeast can be paradise for those who appreciate nature and like to engage in any number of outdoor sporting activities.

But sadly, what begins as a day of outdoor fun can turn tragic when there is an injury. In just the past few weeks, New Yorkers were involved in the following serious accidents:

  • On March 17th, a young man from New York died while sledding at a ski resort West Dover, VT. Witnesses said the man was sliding down the hill on his sled at a high rate of speed, and struck a support post for the resort's deck.
  • On March 21st, a 45-year-old resident of Gowanda, New York was injured when his ATV rolled over while attempting to drive up an embankment. He was medevaced to the Erie County Medical Center for treatment.
  • On March 30th, a New York man drowned when his canoe turned over in Round Valley Reservoir in Clinton Township, NJ. The man was fishing off shore when his canoe capsized. Water temperatures were extremely cold that day.

When tragedies like these occur, liability questions can arise. Has the individual assumed a risk of injury simply by choosing to participate in the activity? Or, can others still be held financially responsible if they are at least partly to blame for what happened? Consider this example:

You decide to go snow skiing. You understand the inherent danger, and perhaps the ski resort posts warnings as well. While skiing down the slope you lose control and run into a ski lift tower. This particular lift tower is missing the wrap-around pads that are usually installed for skier safety, and you are seriously injured.

Are you be entitled to compensation? Possibly and here's why. When you go skiing, you knowingly are exposing yourself to a variety of normal skiing-related dangers. You might fall, hit a tree, or be hurt in some other way that could be anticipated beforehand. But you do not expect that the ski resort would not put protective pads around a lift tower that foreseeably might be skied into.

The same rules apply to spring and summer recreational activities, whether it be boating accidents or drowning and diving accidents. If you've been injured during an outdoor recreational activity, compensation for your injuries, medical expenses and lost time from work may be available. Regardless of the inherent dangers of the activity, the law still protects you from the negligent acts of others. To learn more, contact the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel at (8000 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122.

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