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I am skiing and cause unintentional injury to another slope patron/client. How would I protect myself from being sued? Is there insurance if sued that could protect my assets if found negligent and cover legal costs of lawyer and trial, regardless if found negligent?

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  • Don't go on a weekend, when the slopes can be insanely crowded and sometimes it's just not possible to avoid crashing into someone. May 23, 2023 at 20:29
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    Put a GoPro camera, or a 360-view camera on your helmet. Then don't do anything stupid that would get recorded.
    – abelenky
    May 23, 2023 at 21:00
  • Wouldnt Travel insurance cover it?
    – Nigel Fds
    May 23, 2023 at 23:52
  • @abelenky The trouble with not doing anything stupid is all the other idiots on the slopes. And if you do rely on camera equipment make sure it's rated for the temperature. I have an Akaso camera (GoPro clone) and in sub freezing conditions the battery lasts about 5 minutes - if that. But I believe that GoPro does have cold rated batteries.
    – Peter M
    May 25, 2023 at 13:28

6 Answers 6

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I am skiing and cause unintentional injury to another slope patron/client. How would I protect myself from being sued?

Use reasonable care to avoid harming others, and follow all applicable rules of the ski area. Keep your equipment in good repair. Don't ski when you are drunk or high or in circumstances you can't handle. Try not to collide with people.

If you do collide with someone do what you can to mitigate their injuries, identify ways to document facts favorable to you, and promptly contact your insurance company.

Is there insurance if sued that could protect my assets if found negligent and cover legal costs of lawyer and trial, regardless if found negligent?

For this, you need liability insurance. In the United States, liability insurance is typically included in homeowner's or renter's insurance. These kinds of liability insurance typically cover the cost of a legal defense of a covered claim and any damages awarded or paid in a settlement of those claims (up to the policy limits).

These kinds of liability insurance would typically cover liability arising from a skiing accident and most other claims for negligence, but would typically not cover claims related to intentional acts or a criminal prosecution. A homeowner's or renter's insurance policy would also not typically cover vehicle accidents (e.g. your liability while operating a snowmobile), claims related to a business or an occupation, or claims related to contractual liability.

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    the content of homeowner's/renter's insurance is location dependent, I know at east one country where travel is not included in it.
    – Rsf
    May 23, 2023 at 9:38
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    @Rsf this answer is describing liability insurance, not travel insurance. Are you saying that the insurance you're familiar with includes liability coverage that applies only in the jurisdiction where the insured party resides?
    – phoog
    May 23, 2023 at 10:51
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    Yes, in Israel house insurance covers only the house and nothing more. Since Israel follows Britain in a lot of legal and procedural things, I did a short search that shows the same situation in the UK.
    – Rsf
    May 23, 2023 at 12:57
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    You can get skiing/winter sports insurance, which would cover this. Italy now requires you to obtain such a policy if you want to ski. (Regular travel insurance often excludes dangerous activities such as skiing, diving, watersports.)
    – Stuart F
    May 23, 2023 at 13:21
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    @Rsf As the answer indicates, it is U.S. specific. I'm not surprised that different countries have different customary insurance coverages.
    – ohwilleke
    May 23, 2023 at 15:29
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This is what liability insurance is for: It covers you if you accidentally cause damage to someone else. My understanding is that liability insurance would typically handle the entire legal process for you.

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    What liability insurance? In America?
    – paulj
    May 23, 2023 at 16:58
  • Under what circumstances? Using a ski run above your ability? May 23, 2023 at 17:52
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    In the UK you would buy travel insurance with winter/hazardous sports coverage before undertaking activities like skiing.
    – deep64blue
    May 24, 2023 at 9:09
  • Probably needs a UK tag. May 25, 2023 at 19:45
  • @HashimAziz I believe that this is liability insurance is location-independent. Whether it is common to get it bundled with other stuff or separate is another matter.
    – Arno
    May 25, 2023 at 19:52
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Not really a "law" question, but anyway: The liability insurance you want is called "Privathaftpflicht" (private liability). It is offered by all major insurance providers.

It is ridiculously cheap for what it covers. The first Google hit says 3.17€ a month, and that is just the sponsored first hit, not the cheapest. So expect almost everybody in Germany to have one.

It covers damages to things and people you cause, by anything but intent. So negligence and even gross negligence. It does not cover damages caused to your own things (so if drop your friends expensive camera and it shatters your glass table, it will pay the for the damage to the camera, it will not pay for the damage to your own table) or damages that animals you own cause (that is an extra insurance). Also, most motor vehicles (cars, trucks etc.) are legally required to have liability insurance to drive them on public roads - this is checked during vehicle registration.

One prominent example of what such an insurance covers is:

When crossing the street, you overlook a cyclist. While swerving, the cyclist falls onto the curb and breaks his thigh.

Damage: approx. 75,000 euros

Private liability covers hospital and household costs as well as compensation for pain and suffering.

That is basically a reskinned ski accident.

It will also cover all lawyer costs if you didn't actually do it. Which is basically in their own interest, because if found guilty, they would have to pay it anyway.

As always, read all the fine print on any contract, what I wrote here is the normal default, your specific contract may vary.

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    @quarague If you own a vehicle, you are oliged to have a Kfz-Haftpflichtversicherung, but a Privathaftpflichtversicherung is, while considered the most important insurance you can have, not legally required.
    – glglgl
    May 23, 2023 at 15:58
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    In Austria, the Privathaftpflicht-Versicherung usually comes in a bundle with your Haushalts-Versicherung (household insurance).
    – Heinzi
    May 23, 2023 at 18:10
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    Well, you cannot buy a motor vehicle "ready to drive off the yard" without it. You can obviously buy any heap of machinery you want (including perfectly functioning new heaps), put it onto a hanger and haul it somewhere with your other vehicle, that has insurance. And obviously, "can" here means "can legally". You can do all kind of shady things as long as you don't get caught.
    – nvoigt
    May 24, 2023 at 7:37
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    I can't edit due to lack of reputation, but "Privathaftpflicht" is one word in German, according to correct "Zusammen- und Getrenntschreibung". May 24, 2023 at 11:20
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    One more, perhaps relevant, caveat: Mostly policies exclude damages incurred by people living in your household. You won't get money back if you break your wife's Macbook Pro. May 24, 2023 at 11:23
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In Canada, many home or renter insurance products include coverage for property damage or bodily injury caused by your negligence, no matter whether happening in your residence or elsewhere. This portion of the product is called "liability coverage" or something similar.

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    Also in many other countries. On the basis that your home is the primary asset that you wish to protect, and that if you don't own real-estate, there probably isn't much that another party can get out of you.
    – david
    May 23, 2023 at 3:50
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As others have pointed out, liability insurance derived from your homeowner's or renter's insurance can give you protection.

If you have significant assets in addition to your home, you can add an "Umbrella" policy for additional liability coverage in excess of your home's value. It's not very expensive to add coverage for an additional million or more dollars.

Also, you might take a chapter from the car driver's playbook. Some drivers install a dash cam to provide a video record of the events leading up to a crash. This can save your bacon if the other driver has no compunction against lying about an accident and there are no witnesses. Skiers can wear a harness or helmet mount to hold a GoPro or other video recorder. In the event of an accident where you injure someone, the video record can prove that you were following the rules and not hot dogging. But remember, video evidence can be used against you too, so be sure this is a prudent liability safeguard for your skiing style.

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  • The answer I was about to write, since it gets into how to get that insurance. May 23, 2023 at 21:46
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It's similar to driving on the road:

  1. Be well trained and get plenty of practice in a safe area.

  2. Be aware of your surroundings (other people, objects, type of snow and weather).

  3. Be in a fit condition to ski.

  4. Consider a helmet-mounted crash or go-pro type camera, minding privacy laws in your area.

  5. Consider relevant insurance (minding exactly what you're covered for and the excess, etc.):

    • Travel (this is the usual one, covering equipment damage/loss and injury to yourself and others),
    • Health (for you),
    • Liability (more for hosted activities),
    • Property insurance might cover such (not usually).

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