LIZANO SOLICITOR / ATTORNEY in FRANCE : ski / snowboard / sledding accident
Every year, our law firm, based in Nantes Western France, is instructed by English-speaking holidaymakers or by our network of English and American law firms to handle skiing, snowboarding or sledding accidents that occured during the winter season in the Pyrenees or the French Alps.
We are especially instructed when issuing proceedings is not possible in the UK or in the USA and when French courts are the only territorialy competent jurisdictions. That is also the case when the limitation period has not expired because, under French laws, you can file a lawsuit within 10 years after the end of your recovery.
Even if you are not French, it is important to know that French laws protect foreign citizens in the event of a personal injury accident. Therefore you can be entitled to get fair and full compensation when a third party is found liable on the slopes.
Our law firm provides help and assistance to get full compensation.
Maître David Lizano
Solicitor at the Bar of Nantes
After studying at the University of South Britanny and at the University of Law of Nantes, David LIZANO joined the School of Lawyers of Western France before taking the oath at the Court of Appeal of Rennes on December the 5th 2014.
He then practiced for several years as an associate in a lawfirm in Nantes. Then in 2018, he decided to found his own firm dedicated exclusively to the defense of victims of personal injury accidents.
At the same time, David LIZANO graduated in 2020 from the University of Medicine of Nantes and Angers with a Degree in « Legal compensation for personal injury. »
His work on professional damage to young victims are published in July 2022 in a national scientific journal Médecine et Droit.
In September 2022, David Lizano graduated, with the 1st prize, from the University of Law of Paris with a Degree in « Medical Accident Litigation. »
David LIZANO is a Personal Injury teacher at the University of Le Mans.
This course demonstrates the skills of a firm absolutely dedicated to the defense of victims of personal injury accidents.
Curriculum Vitae (CV)
WINTER SPORTS ACCIDENTS
Winter sports accidents can lead to serious personal injuries : broken bones, brain injuries, spinal injuries, or even death in the most dramatic cases. They can seriously impact the victim's future (physical, professional consequences, etc.).
Different types of accident
1. Collision between two skiers
Article 1240 of the Civil Code provides that anyone who is at fault must compensate the resulting damages.
In the event of a ski accident, you must be able to establish fault by showing negligent or reckless behaviour from the other skier.
A skier is at fault when he didn’t behave as a reasonable and attentive skier. It can be helpful to read through the French Ski Federation guidelines or the International Ski Federation rules of conduct to determine wheter rules have been breached :
Respect for others
Skiers (also applies to snowboarders) must behave in such a way as to avoid putting others in danger or harming them either by their behaviour or their equipment.
Control your speed and behaviour
Skiers must adapt their speed and behaviour to their personal abilities as well as to the general conditions of terrain and weather, the state of the snow and the density of traffic. To put it simply, don’t go careering down a slope in the middle of the February holidays, especially if you can’t stop. You have to ski according to your own abilities and not follow your friends at all costs if they’re more advanced than you…
Choosing your direction when you’re higher up the slope
Anyone below the skier has priority. The skier who’s further uphill (on the mountain side) has a position that lets them choose their trajectory. So they must make their choice in such a way as to ensure the safety of anyone who’s further down the slope (on the valley side). As the person lower down the slope doesn’t have eyes in the back of their head, it’s down to the skier higher up to avoid running into them.
Overtaking can be done higher up or lower down, to right or left. However, it must always be done leaving sufficient room to allow for whatever the person being overtaken may do. As when a car overtakes a cyclist, you have to leave enough space between yourself and the skier you’re overtaking
At a crossing of the tracks or when setting off :After stopping or at a crossing of paths, the skier must, by scanning the uphill and downhill slopes, ensure they can continue without endangering others or themselves. Exactly like driving a car.
Stopping : Skiers must avoid stopping in narrow passages or where there’s no visibility. In the event of a fall, they must clear the track as quickly as possible. Don’t take a break behind a bump in the terrain, for example. Because if someone arrives quickly, they can do some damage.
Ascent and descent on foot : Skiers who have to go up or down a track on foot must use the edge of the track, taking care that neither they nor their equipment pose a danger to others.
Respect for information, markings and signs : Skiers must take into account information on the weather conditions, state of the slopes and the snow. They must respect markings and signs.Do not enter a closed track.
Assistance : A skier who witnesses or is involved in an accident must lend assistance, in particular by raising the alert. If necessary, and at the request of rescuers, they must offer assistance.Just like in everyday life.
Identification : A skier who witnesses or is involved in an accident is required to make their identity known to the emergency service and/or third parties.
If a skier violated any of these guidelines, he's liable and must compensate all your damage.
On principle, it is to the third party insurer to compensate the victim.
If the third party has run away or if he or she is not insured, the victim can seek compensation with the FGAO, a special public fund which provides compensation on behalf of the unknown or uninsured skier. Foreigners can benefit from this guarantee by the FGAO.
But it is imperative to prove a fault or, at the very least, the reality of an accident on the ski slopes involving another skier.
The means of proof can be the following :
- Acknowledgement of liablity by the third party (it is important to write down : ID, address, telephone number, email, name of the insurer, insurance contract references, etc.);
- Police/gendarmerie report;
- Accident report;
- Witness Testimony ;
- Videos, etc.
2. Fall due to items left on the slopes
The accident may be due to the presence of items left on the slopes (a ski pole, a ski or a snowboard which has become detached and which has slipped on the slope, getting in the way of the victim).
The owner of the items is liable for the accident triggered by it. His liability is automatic unless he proves a case of force majeure. Force majeure is very rarely admitted by judges.
If the owner of the item is not insured, the FGAO can compensates the foreign victim if the victim provide evidence of an accident caused by this item.
3. Accident when using ski lifts (téléski, télésiège, télécabine)
Skiing accidents can be caused by faulty equipment or signage. A ski lift that malfunctions because it is not properly maintained or a missing sign or barrier around rocks on or by a piste can cause serious accidents. If you can prove the accident was avoidable the ski resort can then be found liable. Sometimes, the liability of the ski resort is automatic especially when unloading a ski lift.
4. Accident involving a vehicle (snowmobile, snowplow, etc.)
In the event of an accident with a vehicle in the ski station, the vehicle insurer must compensate the victim. If the vehicle does not have insurance or if it has run away, the FGAO compensates the victim.
5. Accident alone
No compensation is possible unless you have taken out specific insurance:
- Privacy accident guarantee;
- Guarantee taken out at the ski resort;
- Guarantee with bank card.
The most urgent thing to do, when such accidents occur, is to gather as much evidence as possible to prove the exact circumstances of the accident and identify the skier liability :
Acknowledgment of accident by the third party (identity, address, telephone number, email, name of the insurer, contract references must be noted);