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Skiing accident | Austria | Attorney at Law

Skiing accidents frequently result in severe injuries and require - if no agreement is reached on the cause of damage or injury – action in court in Austria (Vorarlberg, Tyrol, Salzburg, Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Carinthia, Styria).  Persons injured are entitled to damages (compensation for pain and suffering, lost earnings, cost of medical treatment, compensation for disfiguration, etc.) To this effect, the FIS rules as well as the Draft Bill of Regulations on Ski Slopes are of major importance.

Skiing accident | Damage | Illegal act | Who is at fault

Skiing accidents may be categorized as follows:

  • Accident following collision with other skier
  • Accident following collision with snow groomer / ski lift equipment / other obstacle
  • Ski lift accident

Prerequisites for any claim for damages following a skiing accident are for the damage and unlawful interference to be reported. Furthermore there must be fault and, to this effect, objective carelessness which the person who caused the accident must be charged with. The skiing accident may be due to a collision with other skiers or snow groomers, ski lift problems (ski lift accident) or inadequately secured ski slopes.

Skiing accident | Proceeding in court | Lawyer

A complaint regarding a skiing accident is to be addressed to the entity that caused it. This can be for example another skier, his/her legal representative or the enterprise in charge of maintaining the slopes. Depending on the amount in dispute, either a district court or a regional court near will have jurisdiction in the district where the accident occurred (near the crash site). A lawsuit usually seeks payment of a certain amount of money (covering damages, damages for pain and suffering, medical expense, etc.) as well as, in case of expected permanent consequences (consequential damage) determination of liability for future damages. Upon objection and/or defence of the defendant, the court conducts the regular proceeding. For this purpose it is helpful if the victims secured evidence, e.g. photos of the condition of the scene of accident or noted names and contact details of witnesses.

FIS-Regulations | Draft Bill of Regulations on Slopes (POE Regulations)

The Draft Bill of Regulations on Slopes (POE - Regulations) or FIS - Regulations does not constitute applicable legal norms, nor are they legal custom. They merit, however, careful attention, being a summary of the duties of care to be complied with when exercising downhill skiing and complying with the general principle that everybody's conduct must ensure that nobody else is subject to danger. (1 Ob 639/82, last issued 1 Ob 16/12b).

Skiing accident | Court decision practice

Supreme Court decisions regarding skiing accidents and FIS regulations are numerous (e.g.):

  • FIS - Regulation two (skiers must adapt speed and manner of skiing to their abilities and to the condition of terrain and weather), includes, among other things, being able to stop or give way within the skiers’ scope of vision as well as changing direction, and also applies when snow groomers come their way (12 Os 122/90).
  • Pursuant to FIS - Regulation four, catching up with and passing other skiers is admissible in all situations, provided adequate distance leaves sufficient room for the other skier to manoeuvre. Distance is determined by a number of factors, depending on the particular location and situation: width, gradient, preparation of the slope, quality of snow, ability, speed and conduct of the skiers, sight conditions, traffic density, etc.) 1 Ob 504/93.
  • Within the range of slope crossings, FIS - Regulation five applies, according to which a person moving uphill on the slope must check whether he/she can do so without any risk for himself/herself and other persons. This regulation reflects the view that persons moving against the general flow of traffic, creating thus an unexpected risk for other persons on the slope, have a duty of special care (1 Ob 219/05w).
  • According to FIS - Regulation five and/or section 4 POE, the skier entering a downhill slope from general terrain is obligated to watch and wait whether they are free to do so. The skier must make sure, checking uphill and downhill, that they can enter the downhill slope without any risk for themselves and others are free to cross the (organized) downhill slope (9 Os 10/87).

Claims following a skiing accident

The victim of a skiing accident can claim damages from the entity which caused the accident. This can include damages for pain and suffering, lost earnings, compensation of cost of medical treatment or disfiguration.

Attorney at law | skiing accident | Damages | Lawyer

Attorney at law Dr Öhlböck provides advice for you regarding sports legislation for issues of skiing accidents and represents you at court (civil proceeding) or if criminal charges are brought against you (charges, criminal proceeding) in court and before authorities (public prosecution, police) in Austria.

Dr. Johannes Öhlböck LL.M.

Attorney at Law

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