Are outdoor activities putting you at risk for injury this season?

Many of us love Colorado for the multitude of outdoor recreational activities the state offers residents. And with the warmer weather finally upon us, Coloradans of all ages and activity levels will finally shed the winter blues for fun in the sun. Whether it’s whitewater rafting, kayaking, hiking, biking or picnicking at a state park with family and friends, as the state’s tourism board puts it, “The perfect time to get outdoors in Colorado is all the time.” Unfortunately, with all these outdoor activities comes an elevated risk for accidents and injuries. According to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, injuries are the leading cause of death for Coloradans ages 1-44, with almost half of the injury hospitalizations in Colorado due to falls, many of which occur in the great outdoors. Each year, more than 32,000 Coloradans are hospitalized for these injuries, and the state saw more than 250,000 emergency department visits.

One of the leading causes of emergency room visits is being struck unintentionally by or against a person or object, and often occurring during outdoor sports and recreation. In fact, for ages younger than 25 years old, the second leading cause of emergency room visits is being struck unintentionally. Examples include falling objects striking a person (such as a tree limb falling or a rockslide) or bumping into an object (such as a structure in a park) or colliding with someone and/or being stepped on or kicked (such as during a game of soccer or baseball).

Young adults and children are often at higher risk during the summer months with more than 2.6 million children ages 19 and under seen in emergency rooms for injuries related to sports and recreation each year. This includes outdoor sports as well as activities such as playing on a playground, scooter riding, and skateboarding. The reason is that children’s bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments are still growing, making them more susceptible to injury. Children are also at increased risk of heat illness. Compared to adults, children have a lower sweating capacity and produce more metabolic heat during physical activities, which means they can suffer heat-related injuries more quickly.

However, the most common outdoor injuries for kids on playgrounds are falls, accounting for more than 75 percent of all playground-related injuries. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, lack of or improper supervision is associated with approximately 45 percent of playground-related injuries. Under Colorado law, when someone accepts the responsibility for watching your child, that person could be liable for the harm due to their lack of supervision. This means that they must take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable harm to those under their care. This same level of reasonable care usually applies to other outdoor activities which also affects adults. But since different rules apply to different situations, those injured due to the actions of others should contact a lawyer who can make sense of the confusing laws.

If you or a loved one were injured due to no fault of your own, contact a knowledgeable Colorado personal injury lawyer who can evaluate your case and get the recovery you deserve.