Statistically, 20% of all accidents in Austria occur during leisure sports. In absolute numbers, football is top of the list. But the largest probability of suffering a sports accident is during alpine skiing. This cannot only lead to claims for damages against the perpetrator, which can sometimes be very expensive. There can also be criminal law consequences up to a previous conviction.
If there is an accident on the slope and people are injured, this must be taken just as seriously as a traffic accident. Very often the question of fault (personal negligence, third party negligence) is disputed. That is why it pays to get advice from a lawyer, either to avoid financial damages or to enforce justified claims?
Every situation needs to be observed individually. We will gladly take the time it takes to also discuss your situation extensively. Thus, please make an appointment for a noncommittal informational interview.
Most skiing accidents are caused by skiers and snowboarders not obeying to the slope rules (FIS rules), behaving recklessly or skiing under the influence of alcohol. Whoever causes a skiing accident and simply skies off, is even guilty of a serious offence. In any case you should not be afraid to ask possible witnesses for their personal data in order to prove what happened.
Whether it was the leg or the ski that was broken, you can claim damages in many cases. In order to enforce that, any type of documentation is helpful for the insurance (legal protection insurance, sports accidents insurance which is very often the household insurance in Austria) resp. your personal lawyer.
By carrying out sports events, sources of danger are posed, which cause a number of obligations for the organiser. The legal basis for this organiser´s liability is either the liability resulting from a contract (legal relationship between organiser and participant or between organiser and paying audience) or from an offence (violation of legal regulations). By creating the source of danger “event”, also a liability resulting from the responsibility for general public safety as a contractual side responsibility is possible. This means that the organiser is also obliged to take reasonable safety precautions even for performances that are free of charge for the audience. Thus, the organiser bears liability toward the participants, viewers and outside observers in the event of breach of duty.
Claims for damages resulting from skiing accidents are generally based on the general rules of compensation law. A body of laws which regulates the types and duties of behaviour of skiers does not exist in Austria. However, the FIS rules (rules of behaviour published by the Fédération Internationale de Ski) are of great importance. Generally, the principle of trust is applicable – every skier can assume that the others will also comply with the FIS rules. Exceptions are children as well as people who are not able to comply with the rules. The latter also includes drunk people and beginners.
Apart from the FIS slope rules, there is also a slope rule draft of the Board for Alpine Safety. These behaviour rules are especially to be applied on Austrian ski slopes and are called on by courts in order to solve question of liability.
If someone plays soccer with friends and trips his opponent up and injures him/her, he/she could be confronted with claims for damages. For behaviour that is in accordance with the rules, for example if two players collide with their heads or also for “normal” rule violation there is no liability (no claims for damages), because the duty of care is not violated. However, if you kick your opponent´s leg in gross culpability, there can be a claim for compensation for pain and suffering. Then, in legal proceedings, the actual fault and a possible illegal behaviour, which would be the basis for claims for damages, must be investigated.
If you were involved in an accident with personal injury, you might have violated the rules of behaviour which is legally punishable. Should the prerequisites therefore be fulfilled, criminal charges can be filed because of bodily injury (§§ 83 and 84 StGB), negligent homicide (§§ 80 and 81 StGB) or maybe even additionally “abandoning an injured person” according to §94 StGB. If witnesses or people who become aware of the consequences of an accident do not provide assistance, they can be prosecuted for failure to render assistance in an emergency (§ 95 StGB).