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Workers’ Compensation Claim in New England Court

Each winter, many people in Boston will head north to go skiing in Vermont and Maine.  Many will drive a couple of hours north to the big ski areas in southern Vermont like Stratton, and others will drive a bit farther up to Killington, which is a larger mountain and more popular with younger people.  There are even day trips on buses that leave from Boston every weekend in the winter.

spyndleruv-4-1484582While many people travel a great distance to ski in Vermont, there a lot of locals who work there to keep the mountain slopes running. Although there is a possibility of being injured with any job, these workers face some unique work site safety challenges. In cases where workers are injured, workers’ compensation may be paid.

According to a recent news feature from the Times Argus, a fight over whether one major ski area would pay its injured “ski ambassador” workers’ compensation has made it way to court and the headlines.

A ski ambassador is usually a volunteer who skis or snowboards on the mountain. He or she is there to help paying customers. These workers wear highly visible red jackets that say “may I help you” on them and look for anyone with a question or in need of some other type of help.   There are a variety of reasons people would want to volunteer for this, but one of the major reasons is because they are skiers and season passes at the mountain are very expensive.  If they work as an ambassador and help paying customers, they do not need to pay themselves to ski on the mountain.

In this case, a ski ambassador was skiing down the slopes when he fell down and hit his head.  He had been working as ambassador for 10 years before the date of the accident and was wearing a helmet, as required, at the time of the accident.  He hit his head so hard that authorities say his ski helmet actually cracked. He was taken to a local Level One trauma center and given a CT scan. The CT scan revealed his brain was bleeding, and this was creating serious pressure. This resulted in his suffering a traumatic brain injury.  He applied for workers’ compensation benefits, and the resort did initially pay his claim.

He later had to have vision correction surgery, brain surgery, and reconstructive dental work.  The worker and the resort later entered into a settlement where they agreed to pay him a lump sum of $50,000 and compensate him for some injuries. His employer later refused to pay for any additional treatment, so he filed a claim with the workers’ compensation commission. That claim is now pending before the courts.

One major question is whether his injury is actually covered under workers’ compensation, considering he is a volunteer.  The other question that the court will ultimately have to address is whether the agreement is enforceable or if it is void in light of the workers’ compensation statute.  While it is always possible to settle a claim, there are certain laws that must be followed when so doing.

If you or someone you love has been injured a Boston work accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

Killington Resort Former ski ambassador takes workers’ comp claim to court, July 27, 2016, Times Argus

More Blog Entries:

Parr v. Breeden – Supervisor Co-Workers Not Liable Under Workers’ Comp Exclusive Remedy, July 3, 2016, Boston Work Accident Lawyer Blog