Unsafe Ski Lift Operation Leads to Fatal Accident

ByJoseph O'Neill


Updated onJune 9, 2020

Unsafe Ski Lift Operation Leads to Fatal Accident

This case involves injury at a ski resort in Vermont due to unsafe operation of a chairlift. On the date of the incident in question, a 22 year old female boarded a ski lift along with several of her friends. The lift appeared to be overcrowded, and witnesses attested to the fact that it seemed like there were too many people on the lift. As the lift started to ascend, the girl began slipping from her seat. The girl and her friends started to yell to the ski operator for help, but the operator was not paying attention at the time. The girl eventually slipped out of the chair and fell more than 30 feet to her death. It was claimed that the operator should not have allowed that many individuals to ride the lift at the same time.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

1. Please discuss your background in ski lift operations.

2. What could have been done to avoid this accident?

Expert Witness Response E-009261

inline imageThis case is right in my area of expertise. I have been involved in the ski/snow sport industry for more than 40 years and I am very familiar with the duty of care for ski lifts. There are requirements for correct staffing and operation for a lift. It is the sole responsibility of the operator to make sure that people are seated properly. In this case, I would like to know if there was proper signage, if there were stop and slow button the operator could have used, and if they were wearing ear phones or if there were other distractions that prevented them from properly operating the lift. The duty of care is to see that people are on on the load platform properly prior to the chair scooping them up.

About the author

Joseph O'Neill

Joseph O'Neill

Joe has extensive experience in online journalism and technical writing across a range of legal topics, including personal injury, meidcal malpractice, mass torts, consumer litigation, commercial litigation, and more. Joe spent close to six years working at Expert Institute, finishing up his role here as Director of Marketing. He has considerable knowledge across an array of legal topics pertaining to expert witnesses. Currently, Joe servces as Owner and Demand Generation Consultant at LightSail Consulting.

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