incidenti sciistico, risarcimento

The case was followed by MB.O law firm and the British Solicitor Stephen Covell from Womble Bond Dickinson LLP: a British tourist, victim of a ski accident while snowboarding, was recently compensated for the damages after a significant sentence of the Court of Turin (n. 2169/2022), overcoming the presumption of equal responsibilities which skiers undergo according to Law no. 363/03 («Norme in materia di sicurezza nella pratica degli sport invernali da discesa e da fondo» -Rules on safety in practicing downhill and cross-country winter sports), and to Legislative Decree no.40 of 28th February 2021 Attuazione dell’articolo 9 della legge 8 agosto 2019, n. 86, recante misure in materia di sicurezza nelle discipline sportive invernali» -Article 9 Law no. 86 of 8th August 2019, containing measures concerning safety in winter sports disciplines).


The skiing accident

The British girl was slowly “serpentine” snowboarding on a red-difficulty classified slope in Sauze d’Oulx (TO) in the Via Lattea ski areas. While performing a right turn, she was hit by a skier coming down from behind her, and thrown onto the snow-clad surface of the slope, losing consciousness. Due to the violent impact, the snowboarder suffered severe personal injures to the cranial-facial area mainly and, therefore, relevant aesthetical damages, too. She began a long extrajudicial negotiation with the insurance company, with which the skier had stipulated a “Head of the family” policy, accepting to discuss on the basis of a presumption of equal responsibilities, to the sole purpose of an amicable settlement of the dispute. Nevertheless, after the end of the negotiation, the insurance company retraced its steps questioning any joint responsibility of its insured, hence preventing any transactional settlement.


The judgement

Consequently, the British citizen, assisted by Lawyers Marco Bona, Giulia Oberto and the British Solicitor Stephen Covell, sued, before the Court of Turin, the heirs of the Italian skier (deceased at the time), in order to obtain compensation for all the pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages suffered because of the skiing accident. The snowboarder blamed the skier for the violation of the general obligations of carefulness and diligence, as well as the special standards referred to in Law no. 363/03 and the yonder quoted “Regole di condotta dello sciatore” (rules of conduct for skiers). Moreover, she complained that: -) the upstream position of the skier imposed him to take every possible measure in order to avoid interfering with the trajectory of those who were downstream, moderating his own speed; -) the hitting skier should have performed the overtaking of the snowboarder «in modo da non causare nessuna difficoltà a chi sta superando» (so as not to cause any difficulty to whom was being overtaken) -Rule No. 4-. The snowboarder then asked the Court to certify the responsibility of the hitting skier in causing the accident, in accordance with Article 19 Law no.363/2003, which establishes the presumption of equal concurrent guilt of the skiers involved in the accident «fino a prova contraria» (until proven otherwise).


The sentence

By judgement no.2169 of 19th May 2022, the Court of Turin stated the exclusive responsibility of the skier in causing the accident, considering the presumption of equal responsibilities as inapplicable, considering the initial upstream position of the hitter, his decision of performing the overtaking manoeuvre, and the failing of granting the right of way, as confirmed by the witness heard during the judicial procedure (another skier who was on the site and whose testimony had not been filed by the police). Moreover, the Tribunal could not observe any kind of reckless endangerment by the snowboarder, who was normally following the ski slope finding herself downstream of the hitter: the latter, should he have observed the rules of conduct imposed by the regulations, could and should have noticed the presence of the snowboarder and adjust his own conduct in order to avoid the collision. Not only had the Court compensated the non-pecuniary and aesthetical damages suffered by the snowboarder, but also the accommodation expenses, the journey back to England, the major medical expenses sustained, the specialist examination fees, the damages concerning her working activity. In short, the insurance company had to compensate much more than what they would have had they agreed to the settlement before the lawsuit.

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