When you live in or around New York City, the cold weather season gives the idea of ice skating in Central Park or Rockefeller Center a decided appeal. When you skate on a crowded rink, however, you run the risk of slips, falls, and even serious injury like the following:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Torn muscles
  • Deep bruising
  • Broken bones
  • Concussion

If this happens to you, can you sue? The answer is that it depends on the circumstances.

Assumption of risk

When you are injured while participating in a potentially dangerous recreational sport such as skating and skiing, there are two possible obstacles to a successful claim. They are:

  • Assumption of risk: By voluntarily performing the activity, you assumed the potential risks associated with it.
  • A signed waiver: Many public facilities require its users to sign a waiver that gives up their right to sue if they are injured on the premises.

Suing the facility

Owners and operators of ice skating rinks have a legal duty to keep them safe for patrons to use. This includes:

  • Keeping both the premises and any equipment well-maintained and in good condition.
  • Preventing and correcting dangerous conditions that they either know about or should reasonably have known about, such as flawed ice surfaces, debris, or reckless skaters.

If they don’t fulfill this obligation, and you are injured as a result, then you may be able to hold them liable for negligence. They may also be held responsible for the negligent conduct of their employees, unless the employee intentionally hurt you or was not acting within the scope of their employment. In that case, you must sue that employee directly.

Suing another skater

Other skaters using the rink can be held liable if they injured you intentionally or you were hurt due to their negligence. An example of the former would be deliberately pushing you, causing you to fall and break your arm. The latter could apply if the person skates erratically or aggressively, without regard for reasonable standards of safety.  A person is not necessarily negligent, however, if they accidentally lose their balance while skating in a safe and responsible manner and stumble against you, causing you to fall. This is the type of risk that you inherently accept when you make the decision to go ice skating.

If you are seriously injured while ice skating, then contact a New York personal injury attorney as soon as possible. If the circumstances of the accident suggest facility operator negligence or malice on the part of another skater, then you may be able to sue for both economic and noneconomic damages such as:

  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Loss of wages and/or future earnings
  • Pain and suffering

A personal injury attorney will fight to get you the compensation you need, so that you can get treatment for your injuries, have your expenses covered while doing so, and begin to heal. Jayson Lutzky is a lawyer with over 33 years of experience who handles personal injury and accident cases. Call his office at 718-514-6619 to set up a free initial in-person consultation. Visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com to learn more about Jayson Lutzky, P.C.