Do You Have a Claim if You Were Injured While Boarding a Chairlift in Vermont?
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Do You Have a Claim if You Were Injured While Boarding a Chairlift in Vermont?

by | Feb 19, 2021 | Firm News |

Do You Have a Claim if You Were Injured While Boarding a Chairlift in Vermont? You might. Here is an example of a case I handled.

Here is a summary of a ski lift injury case I handled where my client suffered serious injuries as the result of the negligence of the ski lift operator.

Vermont ski areas are governed by Chapter 15 of Title 31 of the Vermont Statutes Annotated, Ski Tramways. The policy of this statute is “to prevent unnecessary hazards in the operation of ski tows, lifts and tramways, to insure that reasonable design and construction are used, that accepted safety devices are provided for and that periodic inspection and adjustments are made, all for the purpose of making safe the operation of ski tows, ski lifts and passenger tramways.” Therefore, ski area operators are held to a high standard of care in the operation, use and maintenance of ski lifts, trams and tows, similar to other common carriers such as buses and trains.

My client attempted to ride a chair lift. As she approached the loading chute, there was no lift attendant. As she was about to board the chair, she was hit by the oncoming chair lift, causing an elbow fracture. The ski area had a duty to make sure a lift attendant was adjacent to the lift, to make sure she was in a proper position to load the lift, and to stop the lift if it was necessary. The operator has a duty to exercise the highest degree of care in assisting a skier or rider to get on the lift.

The ski area has a lift operations manual with standard language which includes language similar to the following:

Loading/unloading guests: Assist passenger in unloading as necessary, anticipate problems and respond, slow and stop when needed or requested, maintain easily accessible loading, unloading, and maze areas.

Three actions that can be taken if a loading or unloading problem occurs: (1) Provide verbal or physical assistance, including moving the chair to make it easier for the skier to board; (2) slow the lift; (3) stop the lift.

Here, since the lift attendant was non-existent and the lift attendant in the booth was not paying attention, there was a failure to adhere to any of the three requirements listed in the manual.

In Vermont, a ski area operator is held to a higher degree of care when running a chair lift because of the following:

●Passengers give up their freedom of action and movement, trusting themselves to the care and custody of the ski lift operator.

●There is usually nothing passengers can do to cause or prevent the accident.

●The operator has exclusive possession and control of the ski lift.

Please call me today if you have suffered a personal injury. I provide free consultations. My phone number is 802-888-7707.