APNewsBreak reported a wrongful death settlement reached between the parents of a sophomore coed and Dartmouth College relating to a ski lesson the young woman was required to take as part of her college curriculum.
During her lesson, in February, 2004, she was left alone on a difficult ski trail at the ski slope. She was not wearing a helmet. She skied off a ledge, and died from her injuries.
Her parents sued for negligence and wrongful death.
Some of my recent posts have discussed "assumption of the risk" for those who participate in sports, such as the Georgian luge racer at the Olympics, and the snowboarder at Bristol Mountain, both of whom died from injuries they sustained.
Although this article does not specify so, it would appear that the unfortunate coed was not familiar with skiing or the risks inherent in the sport. Awareness of the risk or danger must be assessed against the background, skill and experience of the participant. She was left alone on a ski slope without supervision and without safety protection that some would call essential, especially to a newcomer to the sport, who forseeably could easily lose control of her speed on skis, or her direction, or both.
Dartmouth College had a duty to train and supervise its student when it required her to take the ski lesson. It had a duty to explain to her the risks inherent in the sport, and safety procedures she would employ if she skied too fast or lost directional control. It also had a duty to properly outfit her with safety equipment to prevent injury: boots, bindings that release skis when stressed in the wrong direction, poles, and helmet to prevent head injury.
Dartmouth denied responsibility for the death, calling it "tragic".
The settlement amount is confidential.