This week, the Wisconsin Assembly passed Senate Bill 388, which expands the “assumption of risk” doctrine to protect ski operators who follow certain safety protocols from lawsuits. The bill will now be sent to the Governor for his signature.
The assumption of risk doctrine provides that when an individual engages in a potentially dangerous activity, that person does so with the knowledge that the activity contains the possibility of injury.
Current law provides that one who has assumed a risk and sustained injury or death from the activity may still recover damages from the responsible party even if the injured party failed to follow prescribed protocols. Under SB 388, if a ski area operator follows certain safety precautions, the operator will not be responsible for any injuries an individual may suffer while skiing on the operator’s ski hill. Below are just a few of the duties a ski operator must comply with to obtain liability protection:
- Provide a notice on the ticket or hill pass that the ski hill operator is not liable for any injuries.
- Post signs containing warnings reminding participants of the dangers of skiing. Signs must be at least 10 feet inside the area where tickets are sold, and on slopes, tubing areas, trails, and terrains.
- Provide copies of trail and ski area maps in the ticketing area.
If the ski operator follows these and other requirements, then he or she is not responsible for any injuries sustained by an individual who has assumed the risk of skiing. WCJC supported SB 388.