Lawyer issues safety warning to skiers and boarders

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Lawyer issues safety warning to skiers and boarders

27th October 2009

The recent heavy dumps of early snow in Europe, Canada and the USA have left skiers and snowboarders excited about the new season. But with superb powder days on the horizon, a personal injury lawyer and advanced skier is urging fellow snow-fans to think safety first as they hit the slopes.

Jerard Knott, a specialist in accident claims with Fentons Solicitors LLP, said that as technological advances make the mountains more accessible to all levels of skiers and snowboarders, it's important to remember basic safety advice.

"Skiers and snowboarders need to remember that while the sport can be among the most enjoyable activities, it will never be entirely without risk," said Jerard, who has dealt with a number of head and back injury claims resulting from skiing accidents. "Just thinking about that first day in the mountains, taking in the stunning views and the perfect fresh air, can make even the most experienced skiers rush onto the piste without taking the proper care and attention.

"The 2008/9 season was marred by a number of high profile accidents on the slopes," he said. "This has led to growing concern that safety on the piste has decreased."

Jerard said it was of paramount importance to observe the long-established rules of the slopes - as published by the International Ski Federation - for the conduct of skiers and snowboarders.

"Following these rules will make your holiday safer and more enjoyable," said Jerard. "I've had to deal with too many people who have had their holidays ruined by other people not respecting the rules or other skiers, and the consequences can be felt long after the flight home."

The issue of wearing a helmet is always a hot topic for debate, but Jerard was clear on his views. "Personally I always wear a ski helmet and have done for over 10 years," he said.

"The best argument for wearing a helmet I ever heard was expressed to me by a racer on the international snowboard circuit. As he put it 'you can normally repair a broken bone, but it's not always so easy to repair a seriously injured head.'

"Although wearing a helmet cannot guarantee that you won't suffer a head injury at all, it could well make the difference between a minor and a severe injury being sustained," said Jerard.

Of course accidents are inevitable, and if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident on the slopes, it's worth remembering that if it was not your fault you may be entitled to compensation.

"A skiing accident can not only mean a premature end to your holiday, but the problems can last for a long time afterwards," said Jerard. "The injuries, medical treatment and time off work can end up turning a holiday accident into a long, painful and costly experience.

"A claim for compensation will depend on the circumstances of your accident, where it occurred and how you booked your holiday," said Jerard. "But whatever the circumstances of your accident, it is important to obtain specialist legal advice as soon as possible, as limitation dates for bringing claims vary widely across Europe."

Jerard Knott is an advanced skier and personal injury specialist with Fentons Solicitors LLP.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims relating to holiday accidents. If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.