Ski Injury Plaintiff’s Case Dismissed for Lack of Causation, a Critical Element in Any Negligence Case

Earlier this month, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decided a case that was brought by a man who was injured while skiing in Vermont. The allegations were that the ski resort was negligent for allowing “jumps” to be built on its terrain, which caused the plaintiff’s injuries. The court ultimately determined, however, that the plaintiff failed to submit adequate proof that the ski resort’s negligence in allowing the jumps to be present was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

big-white-2-1397506The Facts of Gemmick v. Jay Peak, Inc.

In the case, Gemmick v. Jay Peak, Inc., the plaintiff was skiing with his daughter. Toward the end of the run, the plaintiff’s daughter stopped to look for her father but couldn’t find him. As it turns out, a ski patroller found the plaintiff disoriented and combative midway up the hill. The plaintiff was treated for “fractures to his left ribs and left transverse processes.”

The plaintiff could not recall what exactly had happened. However, his daughter recalled seeing a ski jump to the left of the trail near where he was injured. This led both father and daughter to conclude that another patron went off the jump and collided with the man.

The man, proceeding without an attorney, filed suit against the ski resort, alleging that the resort’s negligence in allowing the jumps caused his injuries.

The Plaintiff Fails to Show Sufficient Proof of Causation

In a pretrial motion, the ski resort asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing that the plaintiff did not submit proof that the presence of the jumps was in any way a contributing cause to his injuries. At this stage in the proceeding, the resort’s allegedly negligent conduct was sufficient to put the case before a jury and was not at issue. The sole issue was that of causation.

The plaintiff argued that the specific injuries he sustained were consistent with his theory that he was struck by a fast-moving skier coming from his left. The court, however, ultimately determined that the plaintiff’s injuries alone – even when combined with the presence of the jumps – did not constitute sufficient proof that his injuries were caused by the presence of the jump. The court then dismissed the action against the resort.

Have You Been Injured While Skiing or Snowboarding?

If you have recently been involved in a premises liability accident while skiing, snowboarding, or engaging in any other recreational activity on the property of another, you may be entitled to monetary compensation based on the negligence of the landowner. As you can see, courts require that each element of a case be met with sufficient evidence before the case is permitted to proceed to trial. An attorney’s assistance can be vital in assessing the strength of a case and determining how to best prepare for any potential defense. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation with a dedicated Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney.

More Blog Posts:

Manufacturer Settles Lawsuit over Defective Tire that Paralyzed One Man, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, November 3, 2015

State Supreme Court Finds in Favor of Slip-and-Fall Victim on Sovereign Immunity Issue, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, October 7, 2015

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