August 21, 2002
The news of the lawsuit against the Aspen Skiing Co., et. al., brings up a number of issues.
Most importantly, the loss of a child is heartbreaking under all circumstances. The importance of parents insisting on proper head protection (i.e., a protective helmet) cannot be stressed enough.
The Skico, hotel, etc., are not to blame for the tragic event of Feb. 16, 2002. There is a clear and present danger inherent in the sport of skiing. It would be impossible to totally remove this danger despite our desire to do so.
There was no clear mention of negligence in The Times news report of Aug. 19. To place “blame” on anyone in this case appears irrational, and the filing of a lawsuit will not change the facts of what occurred.
Unfortunately, we live in a progressively more litigious society, and the not-infrequent attempt to blame others for an “accident” simply adds to the sadness shared by all who are aware of what happened.
There is no way to make every activity in life completely safe. When we go skiing, or bring our children to ski, we assume certain risks which cannot, in fairness, be transferred to others.
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Hopefully, children will in the future wear appropriate head protection, and can thus help to avoid the serious head injuries which can occur in many sports.
My sincere condolences to the Arguetty family on their tragic loss. They would, however, create a greater living memory to the life of Leonie if they established an organization which would stress proper head protection for children (and adults), rather than try to penalize others who are not to blame.
Michael J. Wasserman, M.D.