Snow tubing is a form of recreation where each person rides on top of an inter tube (sometimes also known as "doughnuts" due to their shape) through snow. Usually the rider starts at the top of a slope and slides down, similar to the way you would if you were sledding. However, the lack of friction between the tube and the snow can lead to riders developing high levels of speed and little way of navigating the tube safely. As a result, some riders have gotten into serious accidents, such as running into a tree. Many ski resorts that offer snow tubing now include courses on how to properly perform the activity.
That was not the case for William Brazell, at least according to the suit he filed against Snowshoe Mountain, Inc. Brazell and his wife visited the Silver Creek Ski Area, operated by Snowshoe, where Brazell went snow tubing. Brazell suffered injuries after landing on his head and neck. He was taken to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a cervical fracture.
Brazell claims that his injuries were due to a "negligently designed and maintained run and barrier wall," which resulted in him traveling down the course at a heightened speed. Brazell also claims that Snowshoe staff failed to provide safety instructions, to properly maintain the snow trail, to install a catchment feature at the barrier wall, and to administer first aid at the scene of Brazell's injury. Instead, Brazell needed to go to the first aid station, where he was then transported to the hospital.
Brazell further claims that Snowshoe has already admitted that the conditions for snow tubing were dangerous, and that later, the ski resort issued a general announcement telling riders to drag their feet.
If Brazell has sufficient evidence to back these claims, Brazell will have a strong chance of succeeding in a personal injury lawsuit. Of course, Snowshoe might defend itself in a number of different ways. It might claim that it never issued a general announcement about the conditions, and that it followed all applicable safety laws. It might also claim that Brazell himself contributed to his injuries by using unsafe maneuvers, or by ignoring the safety advice that was given by Snowshoe staff. It might point out that out of dozens who went snow tubing, Brazell was the first to be seriously injured, and that no one else mentioned dangerous conditions on the slope. West Virginia has a system of modified comparative negligence, where if the one bringing the lawsuit is 50% or more at fault, that person cannot collect a monetary award. That said, even if Brazell's actions were partially at fault for his injuries, that does not mean his culpability would rise to 50%.
If you or your loved one are in a situation similar to Brazell's, you should hire a West Virginia personal injury attorney to help you obtain relief. You would file a lawsuit and argue that the company failed to follow proper safety measures, and that as a result, you were injured. If you are successful, you may be awarded a monetary amount for medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.