Hospital Treatment Of Ski And Snowboard Injuries

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But that is not the end of your problems. In theory, in France the state will pick up only 75% of your medical bills for the first 31 days, holders of EHIC (E111 forms) from other European countries will be similarly covered. You may also have to pay for wheel chairs, crutches and prostheses. This is from the UK governments EHIC website:

"In France the EHIC will pay 75 per cent or more of the cost direct to the hospital. You pay the balance. You must also pay a fixed daily hospital charge ('forfait journalier'). The 25 per cent balance and the forfait journalier are non-refundable."

"Around 70 per cent of standard doctors' and dentists' fees are refunded, and between 35 and 65 per cent of the cost of most prescribed medicines."

Even a relatively minor accident such as a broken wrist (and I speak from experience) could involve several operations and two weeks in hospital. You could be looking at a bill of 30,000 Euros of which you might have to pay 8,000 out of your own pocket. Anything more serious could be very expensive, avalanche casualties often suffer from hypothermia, broken ribs, legs and hips, you could be looking at 6 months in hospital.

European Health Insurance Card

European countries are currently rolling out the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitlement card will replace the old E111 system and will give holders access to treatment in France (and other countries under the scheme) that would ordinarily be provided under their state scheme.


Don't imagine that you can be patched up in the local clinic then hop on a plane for free treatment back home. Airlines are extremely reluctant to carry injured passengers, particularly straight legged injuries including broken legs, cruciate ligaments and even strains. More serious injuries may require a stretcher and skilled medical staff or even a private air ambulance. You may also have children, spouse and friends holidaying with you who will need to return home. This could require someone to accompany them or a driver to return your car.

Third party liability

If other people are involved in your accident or if property has been damaged you will may be liable to pay compensation. The sums can be fantastic if a death is involved. Remember that some 40 to 50 people die in a single year on piste in France, some of these are due to accidents involving collisions with third parties. You may also face civil or criminal prosecution from victims and this could involve court costs and flights back for hearings. Since the Le Tour and les Orres avalanches the French authorities have become much more active in prosecuting skiers and boarders that cause avalanches above the slopes, even where there are no victims.

Compensation for Lost Holiday, Lift Passes, Equipment

Beyond that it would be nice to salvage something out of a bad situation. With winter sports accidents, equipment is often lost or damaged, particularly in avalanches. There may also be lift passes, guiding services and other costs.

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