For many people, there is nothing more exciting that hitting the slopes on a clear, crisp day. Skiing is a popular sport in northern California as the region possesses some of the finest skiing terrain in the country that is just a few hours drive from the Bay Area megalopolis. While skiing is an inherently risky sport, riding a ski lift to the top of a run shouldn’t be. However, ski lift accidents do take place wherein innocent people are seriously injured.
A ski lift is the primary on-hill form of transportation at most ski areas. It is made up of a circulating steel cable loop that is suspended between two terminals that generally carries a series of chairs. Most accidents involving ski lifts occur when the injured individual is getting on or off the ski lift. It is the responsibility of the ski lift operator to ensure that people are safe while riding the ski lift.
According to a fact sheet issued by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), there are approximately 3,500 ski lifts in the United States. Most of these lifts are traditional double, triple and quad chair lifts (both fixed and detachable) as well as gondolas, surface lifts, rope tows and aerial tramways.
While ski lift fatalities are rare, people do sometimes lose their lives in ski lift accidents. In 2011, a 7 year old boy fell an estimated 60 feet from a chairlift at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort in California. Tragically, the youngster died two days after the accident at a local hospital. There was a safety bar on the lift the child fell from but it was unclear if the bar was up or down.
Ski lift accidents that result in injuries are much more common than fatalities. Because ski lifts are mechanical devices that must be monitored closely at all times, things can and do go wrong. It is up to ski lift workers to regularly inspect and monitor ski lifts to ensure passengers are safe. If it is blatantly obvious that something is wrong with a lift, yet the ski area operator continues to run the lift, the operator can be held liable if injuries are sustained by riders or others near the ski lift.
Often times, the cause of ski lift accidents is due to frayed cables that wear out over time. If one of these cables snaps or breaks, many people can become severely injured. Victims could suffer from broken bones, spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries. Victims could suffer emotional pain as well due to the trauma of being involved in such a horrible accident.
Ski Lift Accident Liability
A ski area operator can be held liable for injuries caused by the negligent design, construction, operation or maintenance of a ski lift. Falls from ski lifts and injuries sustained while getting on and off a lift can be caused by defective design, faulty maintenance or negligent or improper operation of the lift.
Insufficient and careless maintenance and the failure to bring the ski lift to a stop at the right time and place are all major contributing factors in ski lift accidents that result in injuries.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a California ski lift accident, the personal injury attorneys at Hogan Injury can help. We will thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident you were injured in to determine where the liability lies. Time is of the essence in this type of case so contact us today so we can get the wheels of justice moving. We understand how a serious injury can change a life. We work hard on behalf of our clients to ensure they receive the compensation they are due when injured in ski lift accidents.