On March 24, 2005, Mrs. Nichols was skiing and Kyle Reder was snowboarding at Winter Park Resort in Colorado. Both were considered "skiers" pursuant to the Colorado Ski Safety Act. C.R.S. § 33-44-103(8). Mrs. Nichols was skiing in an area downhill of defendant on a trail known as Hughes. She was plainly visible, skiing slowly and in control. Mr. Reder was snowboarding on Hughes uphill of Mrs. Nichols.

Mr. Reder (18 years of age at the time of the collision) crashed into Ms. Nichols from uphill. Mr. Reder wrote and signed a statement after the collision that made him legally responsible. Specifically, he wrote: "I was heading down the slope, saw her (Ms. Nichols) in front of me, tried to turn, but blocked by other skiers, so we crossed and I took my edge, but we hit anyways…". Liability was not seriously disputed.

Ski patrol provided emergency care and prepared Mrs. Nichols to be evacuated off of the mountain to 7 Mile Clinic, the triage center at the base of the mountain. She complained of injuries to her ankle, leg, knee, thigh, hip, and neck. Some testing and evaluation could not be performed due to the severity of her pain. The doctors diagnosed her with a possible torn ACL or MCL, strained trapezius muscle (muscle running from the base of the occiput to the middle of the back) and sartorius (thigh) muscle, and rib and hip contusions. They applied a splint on her leg and referred her for orthopedic consultation.

Mrs. Nichols sought extensive medical treatment as follow up to the injuries suffered. The collision resulted in a right knee anterior cruciate ligament rupture, grade 2 medial collateral ligament tear, red zone peripheral medial meniscal tear, posterior horn lateral meniscal tear, mild left paracentral broad-base disk bulge/bony bar formation at C4-5, disk herniation at C5-6 which abuts the ventral cervical cord, disk herniation at C6-7, and injuries at L2-3, L3-4, and L4-5.

For treatment of the knee injury, Mrs. Nichols underwent right knee arthroscopy; partial lateral meniscectomy; ACL reconstruction with central third patellar tendon autograft.

Once her knee began to improve from the physical therapy, she turned her attention to the next most pressing problem, which was the pain in her neck and back. Her treating physician performed the first surgical injections on March 15, 2006. She inserted a #25 gauge needle into Renee’s C3-4, C4-5, and C5-6 facet joints and squirted a solution of lidocaine into the joints. The C5-6 joint leaked some of the solution, indicating the severity of the herniation. Dr. Yurth performed a second, similar surgical injection in Mrs. Nichol’s lumbar spine on May 3, 2006.

Another indication and confirmation of the pain and stress from these injuries is that Mrs. Nichols was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The case settled in August, 2006 for $200,000.00.

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