Personal Injury Lawsuit Against Ski Resort To Move Forward

Everyone who has gone skiing or snowboarding at some point has paused and thought “what would happen if the chairlift broke.?”  Well that happen to Delaware couple in 2010 when they visited Sugarloaf.  Three family members whom were seriously injured when a chairlift broke filed a personal injury lawsuit against Sugarloaf and several other defendants  The three individuals were riding the lift when it broke and fell thirty-five feet to the ground.

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss on the common carrier liability count, arguing that Maine law exempted ski-lift operators as common carriers, thus the common carrier’s higher standard of care did not apply to them.  Maine’s  Skiers’ and Tramway Passengers’ Responsibilities Act, the law recognizes there are inherent risks associated with riding a chair lift.  Although the statute provides exemptions.  One in particular relates to the failure to properly maintain the ski area or negligent operation.  Which is in fact what the injured parties alleged in this case (a portion of the cable carrying the lifts fell off the towers).

Arizona also has statutes that govern liability and skiing; however it is not as encompassing as the Main law.  Arizona law does mandate a ski operator’s obligations regarding use and safety when riding chair lifts.

However, Arizona’s law also releases the ski area from liability if the ski area proves the skier signed a valid release, the ski area’s liability will be determined by the release.  Also Arizona law imposes certain duties and obligations on the skier, including knowing the skier’s own ability and skiing within that ability, and that before using a lift, the skier have the ability and knowledge to load and unload from the lift.

If you or someone you know is injured while skiing, you or they at a minimum should contact a personal injury lawyer to determine whether and if you have any potential claims against the ski resort, lift operator or even another skier/snowboarder.