Six-Year-Old Sued Over Skiing Accident

Child’s sudden turn allegedly caused collision, injuring adult woman

An Austrian judge must determine if a 6-year-old child understood the consequences of his or her actions while skiing. PHOTO: Ty Czka
An Austrian judge must determine if a 6-year-old child knew the consequences of his or her actions while skiing. PHOTO: Ty Czka

A 6-year-old girl in Austria is being sued for roughly $38,000 for causing a skiing accident that left an adult woman seriously injured and no longer able to ski.

The child, who was part of a ski school group, allegedly made a sudden turn into the path of the woman and a judge will now have to decide whether the child can be held legally responsible for her actions.

The suit was brought to the girl after the courts dismissed an earlier attempt to sue the adult who was supervising her at the time of the accident, according to the European newspaper, The Telegraph.

Under Austrian law, children under 14 cannot be held responsible in a civil case, unless the child is capable of understanding the consequences of his or her actions.

At an initial hearing this week, a court expert testified that the adult woman and the child were equally responsible, reigniting an ongoing conversation pitting reckless behavior against skiing’s inherent risk.

According to the 10 FIS Rules for the Conduct of Skiers and Snowboarders, a skier or snowboarder coming from behind must choose his route in such a way that he does not endanger skiers or snowboarders ahead.

In the United States, the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) developed Your Responsibility Code to increase skier awareness surrounding the elements of risk in snow sports and remind us all that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce accidents and injury, tagline—Know the Code. It’s Your Responsibility.