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Ski instruction and Liability? - Page 2

post #31 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman
Just a note of caution for your moonlighting instructors....the binding certification they received is only valid for making adjustments within the shop they were certified for. Making adjustments on the hill is not covered and the neccessary paper work needs to be filled in and signed. So what they are doing on hill is not indemnified currently.
And that's why I don't do it.....

L
post #32 of 54
At some resorts, an instructor must be certified in the park/pipe before he or she is allowed to take classes in those areas. Perhaps this is similar to Bud's idea and the resorts would allow it.
post #33 of 54
It would be a employer's (Ski School, Mountain area etc) dream to "exclude" or run away from their employee who did not follow the rules. Bottom line, they cannot. The employeer sets rules to protect the public, but those rules also go to diminish the case of negligence (damages) against themselves for acts caused by the rouge employee. Example outside of skiing: Employee is drinking on the job, this is expressly forbidden by the employer. He falls asleep at the wheel and kills a innocent driver. The company is paying big time. The will pay even more if the company knew, or should have known, their employee was drinking on the job.

Part 2, A good plaintiff attny can see right through any of these "schemes" ski areas design to free themselves from liability by advising the instructors are not employees of the mountain. There is a list of criteria that causes one to be determined a contract worker or and employee. Any grey areas fall against the deep pocket--the mountain. Anyone can say anything they want at anytime, but when push comes to shove (depending on the severity of the inujury) the judge or jury will determine if the instructor was "self-employeed" or an employee being directed. If any of you have doubt---what kind of "power" do you have at the mountain you serve. Can you teach in any style you wish; work the hours you wish; charge any amount you want; do you have a supervisor; do you HAVE to wear a uniform; is your pay increased proportionally with the number of students?

I am not an attny by any sorts. I am simply interested in this area of the law. Recently "chicken catchers" in Maryland won a class action lawsuit against Purdue. Back wages and workers' compensations benefits were afforded them for many years of pay. They too were told they were "contract workers" and paid x cents per chick they collected and delievered to the factory. A judge saw it another way.

I personnaly feel we all should play by the rules and words we agree to, but wanted to share this info with you so that you can sleep well knowing that you "MAY" not loose your home and future income when you give advice you feel is correct but a jury disagrees.

Regarding the comment on the bump run as being the last run of the day....Theory holds that the last run should be a cool down run. I also believe we should do what our students wish (given appropriate skills and fitness levels) to ensure their experience is a good one. I love to bump and would be greatly disappointed if we were at a bump run and turned away from it, especially if the majority of the group also wanted to bump and the silent minority stayed silent. The instructor could have changed the class focus for those who "might have been tired" to how to get down a bump run safely at the end of the day. I do a drill---ski the bumps as slow as you can. After we stop, I say....good, now go slower.
post #34 of 54
Thread Starter 
Just a thought.....wouldn't the run a person was injured on pretty often be their last run of the day?... whether it was 10am or 4pm? Sorry...

I guess my primary focus in this thread is to demonstrate that there are many grey areas for an instructor in the realm of liability and that if we focus intently on one specific area of concern we may be able to separate that area out of the grey and into black & white. This requires industry standards be set and general consensous within the industry. I believe in respect to doing onhill alignment assessments this is conceivable to do?... I am looking into it and if anyone would like to help see the thread titled Certified Alignment Specialist.
post #35 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregGaspar
It would be a employer's (Ski School, Mountain area etc) dream to "exclude" or run away from their employee who did not follow the rules. Bottom line, they cannot. The employeer sets rules to protect the public, but those rules also go to diminish the case of negligence (damages) against themselves for acts caused by the rouge employee. Example outside of skiing: Employee is drinking on the job, this is expressly forbidden by the employer. He falls asleep at the wheel and kills a innocent driver. The company is paying big time. The will pay even more if the company knew, or should have known, their employee was drinking on the job.
you must be a plaintiff's personal injury lawyer, or mightily besmitten with one.

my experience as a litigator taught me that your primer above is myopic and dreamy, closer to fantasy than reality.

care to share where you get your view?
post #36 of 54
This is an interesting topic. We have a part time instructor who teaches one day a week because her regular teaching job and family will not allow for more. This instructor had a 5 year old private and the child was struck by a errant snowboarder and injured. The injuries were not serious but the parent is sueing the instructor for failure to protect the child and the resort is not named in the suit. The resort however has hired her a lawyer. She has vowed to never teach skiing again.
post #37 of 54
Pierre,

Was she PSIA?
post #38 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
Pierre,

Was she PSIA?
I don't think so but I could be wrong.
post #39 of 54
I ask only because CSIA certification includes liability insurance -- thus the lawyers are automatic. Does the PSIA do that too?
post #40 of 54
No.
post #41 of 54
I find that amazing. If the PSIA offered liability insurance, wouldn't the cost to SAM go down? And so make hiring only PSIA certs more appealing to SAM?
post #42 of 54
BigE

PSIA wouldn't want to do something that would be of real tangable benefit to their membership. The members might expect further such actions.

yd
post #43 of 54
Sounds like Costco -- pay your dues, get some deals.
post #44 of 54
Not that this adds much to this thread, but I'm with LisaMarie on this one. Please take responsibility for your actions and put the ambulance chasers out of business(very broad statement I know)
post #45 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgiddyup
Not that this adds much to this thread, but I'm with LisaMarie on this one. Please take responsibility for your actions and put the ambulance chasers out of business(very broad statement I know)
Although I do not take offense to the ambulance chaser crack (if I had a nickel for everytime I've heard that phrase...and I've only been practicing for 3 years!), I must caution those that are quick to judge when a suit is filed. Although rare, there are certainly instances where the instructor IS at fault, rather than the resort. Even so, the resort will almost always provide coverage to the instructor.

Obviously without knowing the pertinent facts surrounding the 5 y.o. struck by an errant snowboarder I can't come to a worthwhile conclusion, but I find it strange that the parents only sued the instructor. After all, you can't get blood from a stone! (Not saying she's judgement proof or anything, but the resorts pockets are most certainly deeper than hers.)
post #46 of 54
I agree with counsel above. Mountains will defend the instructor, because if they don't, there is a REAL good chace the instructor will file suit against the Mountain for a defense---and win, see my prior post on this. It also benefits the Mountian as most juries will treat the "poor" instructor better in the judgement (if found negligent) as opposed to the "rich" Mountain. I would also guess that in addition to defending the instructor, they will also pay the judgement.
-----------
If you are sued individually, call your insurance agent. You may have coverage. Chances are there is an exclusion for liability arising out of "business pursuits". You will most likely loose coveage on this point if you get paid a significant amount---meaning more than the gas money it takes to get you to the hill. You (the attny the ins. company will hire to defend you against them, while defending you---until the coverage decision is made) can argue that the $6.00 an hour you get paid is not payment, rather simply compensation for your "volunteer" work. A similar example would be your helping your friend move furniture and he buys you pizza and beer. Are you a professional mover? No. But you got paid more than me for working less time.
If you are afraid of lawsuits and desire to avoid this exclusion---turn down your pay and truely work for your Mountain as a volunteer.

Another exclusion your Homeowners policy might throw your way to avoid defending you is "Liability that arises out of 'your' profession. Or professional work" We are proud to say we are "professional" and many belong to PSIA. Some companies give a mild interpretation to this...meaning they will exclude surgens' work, accounting etc. A "volunteer" ski instructor?

Do know that you are obliged to submitt a claim ASAP. You cannot be calling your agent AFTER the jury awards your alleged victom and the mountain will not pay. Neither will your insurer. They want early notice so that if there is/was coverage, they can hire the best attny to defend your OR settle out of court. The biggest favor they may do for you is get the Mountain involved. This is very involved; suffice it to say that one call to your agent will bring lots of attorneys into the frey---a good thing for you.
post #47 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki
A big question is our "employment" terms. We are often hired as "private contractors", not direct employees of the hill or the school. As private contractors ..... read your employment agreement .... does that give us increased personal liability since I'm not "Yuki, Inc." or "Yuki, L.L.C."?

Essentially they do this to eacape minimum wage and hour laws.
YUKI,
Do you get a W-2 or a 1099?? Pay may be calculated in many ways (hourly/per lesson) but if you get a W-2, You are an Employee. If you get a 1099 you are a contractor. Employees cannot deduct commuting mileage, contractors can.

It should be a different thread but as instructor salaries come closer and closer to minimum wage, many mountains are going to have to deal with the Federal 4 hour minimum shift and other issues. Fifteen years ago at 50% of a forty dollar private you could work two hours a day and still do better than McDs. Today two hours pay at $8/hr does NOT equal 4 hours at minimum wage.

Back on thread, PSIA made loose boot drills verbotten back about 1990. Also about that time they modified the "human slalom - spacing students out down the hill as turning "poles" and playing "leap frog" making turns around each person and then taking your turn as the next "gate" down the hill. Lots of fun and great visual and verbal feedbacks. New version is to space students out along the side of the trail and observe each other turning right in front of each other. Nowhere near as interactive.
post #48 of 54
In the group lessons I have taken I would REFUSE point blank to be a human slalom pole - most of the suckers can't ski in the instructors tracks when asked - why would I think they can a) pick a line & b) turn it?...... (& that is in lessons designated for "advanced skiers")
post #49 of 54

Where's The Beef

Quote:
Originally Posted by ydnar
BigE

PSIA wouldn't want to do something that would be of real tangable benefit to their membership. The members might expect further such actions.

yd

Just out of curiosity, what is your beef with PSIA? I support your right to trash them but at least give the members who do support PSIA an opportunity to refute your complaints rather than making innuendos that can not be refuted.
Thanks,
post #50 of 54

Psia?

John Cole: I note that your profile doesn't mention instruction. Is your management (employment), in the indursty?

I realize that treatment of instructors varies and some here make a living from it; they have endured. Many others probably only recall when things were better, so Bear with me on this one.

Minimum "wage" and you don't get paid for showing up, only "hours on snow", but stand and wait .... ie don't free ski.

No passes or bennies other than half price in the cafeteria. There is "a plan" for your family to ski at a discounted rate but don't count on using it. It's usually some complex algorism that relates to phases of the moon. I nor any of my family EVER had a free ticket.

Buy or lease your "uniform" ... then have to give it back?

PSIA due$.

PSIA clinic$.

I'm in the RED at the end of each $eason! P$IA is a tool of management or )at best), it a bu$$ine$$ unto it's own.

I am done teaching and I sure there are a long line of other dreamers that'll take my place.

Perhaps it's better outside of the east/central corridor.
post #51 of 54

Instructor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki
John Cole: I note that your profile doesn't mention instruction. Is your management (employment), in the indursty?

I realize that treatment of instructors varies and some here make a living from it; they have endured. Many others probably only recall when things were better, so Bear with me on this one.

Minimum "wage" and you don't get paid for showing up, only "hours on snow", but stand and wait .... ie don't free ski.

No passes or bennies other than half price in the cafeteria. There is "a plan" for your family to ski at a discounted rate but don't count on using it. It's usually some complex algorism that relates to phases of the moon. I nor any of my family EVER had a free ticket.

Buy or lease your "uniform" ... then have to give it back?

PSIA due$.

PSIA clinic$.

I'm in the RED at the end of each $eason! P$IA is a tool of management or )at best), it a bu$$ine$$ unto it's own.

I am done teaching and I sure there are a long line of other dreamers that'll take my place.

Perhaps it's better outside of the east/central corridor.
I am a part time Level III instructor in Central. I believe you give more responsibility to PSIA than PSIA can shoulder. Wages are the responsibility of the schools and not PSIA as well as personnel issues. Personally, I think PSIA does well to walk a line and keep PSIA in front of SAM. I have been at various level of PSIA management and have never seen SAM influence PSIA to the extent SAM is given credit for. Other than having friends at the national level, I have not shared in those meetings. However, I have shared through those friends and basically here the same. If anything, SAM is critical of PSIA when it comes to return visits of skiers from the ski schools. SAM can not even agree on the industry profile. I receive SAMs’ newsletter and they fight as much between themselves as PSIA and the like.

In my division PSIA is a certification tool which we are now hopefully changing to more of an educational tool with certification as one highway an instructor can take along the way. At the division level SAM rarely if ever comes up. Until this coming year I was on the board and can say it for a fact. As an aside, that includes the big “L” also. As a trainer in my SS, a group of us set the lesson content not SAM. SAM does set the marketing tone which does not dovetail with content because it does not need to. Next season I am hoping to help move us more into “Direct to Parallel” where applicable. Strength of the instructor is a real key here.

PSIA is a good organization but if it is not, the members should change it in their divisions and you would be surprised how fats national will jump in.

Thank you for your reply. Maybe this could be a could topic as long as we aren’t out to “bash” but to make some constructive comments we could send to divisions and to national.

John
post #52 of 54

P$ia

John, with all due respect. So much is oriented to the "customer centered approach". So little, actually I have seen no action, towards improving the "lot" of the common line instructor.

Simply put, I pay the dues. I put my time and hotel money and clinic fees toward improving the product for the client in hopes that they will stay with the sport. Is it unfair for me to expect some pressure put on SAM (by PSIA) to at least help me make a dime at the end of the year?

Bitter? Not totally, some good clinics and I learned some things for sure. But I won't work under the conditions that I have seen in the last few years. We lost half of the experienced folks last season. Replaced with kids from the local college. Lockers .... we were told to rent one .. no discount! The "list" is too long .... would take a few beers and a good "crying towel".

Does SAM pay the dues or do we?
post #53 of 54

Uniformity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki
John, with all due respect. So much is oriented to the "customer centered approach". So little, actually I have seen no action, towards improving the "lot" of the common line instructor.

Simply put, I pay the dues. I put my time and hotel money and clinic fees toward improving the product for the client in hopes that they will stay with the sport. Is it unfair for me to expect some pressure put on SAM (by PSIA) to at least help me make a dime at the end of the year?

Bitter? Not totally, some good clinics and I learned some things for sure. But I won't work under the conditions that I have seen in the last few years. We lost half of the experienced folks last season. Replaced with kids from the local college. Lockers .... we were told to rent one .. no discount! The "list" is too long .... would take a few beers and a good "crying towel".

Does SAM pay the dues or do we?
I respect what you want but PSIA is not a negotiating organization with SAM for better anything for instructors. Areas are autonomous and so are the SS as far as that goes. When PSIA was formed by instructors in about 1962 and not SAM, the goal was to present a uniform product of instruction for all skiers across the United States. In that respect, PSIA has delivered the goal.

I agree the market place has put the profession way below where it I think it should be and I would like to see it changed by customer demand and or less instructors available for hire. The only way that will happen is if less people come into the profession. There is an old saying in business “If you pay people too much you go broke and if you pay people too little you go broke.” Obviously the market is just right since, to date anyway, there are instructors available, either from the states or imported, at the wage and benefit package offered. By the way, I think we also know that many instructors, who stick long enough, do seem to build a clientele base that supports a decent lifestyle, at least at destination resorts.

I understand the frustration; I just believe it is miss-placed in asking PSIA to be a bargaining unit. Could PSIA do more to assist in customer demands, possibly? Then we would all need to pay even higher dues to make the capitol available. If we did, the next thing we would hare is PSIA is not doing enough communicating with the membership. Another thought, we tend to blame Denver when I really believe more marketing should come from the division level.

Finally, I continue to hear the argument on what we teach, how we teach it, how we present it, and are this system better than that system etc. & etc. Personally, as long as the comments are not degrading to anyone or any organization, I almost laugh at the comments. I fully realize the comments must not be coming from the trenches. I utilize all that works for my student and steal from anywhere so I am educated and practiced enough to adapt. I am sure all reasonable instructors do. In the end, I am a member of PSIA and I support it even though, like every other organization, we have our faults.

Thank you,

John
post #54 of 54
Yuki,

There are better places to work. Vote with your feet.
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