Broken Timberline Ski Lift Raises Issues Of Responsibility

Feb 23, 2016, 13:51 ET from The Bell Law Firm, PLLC

CHARLESTON, W.Va., Feb. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Following the ski lift derailment at Timberline Resort in Canaan Valley that affected about two dozen people on Saturday, a Charleston law firm noted today that there are questions of responsibility for the people injured in the crash.

"Before entering a ski lift, each skier is required to affix a lift ticket to his or her coat or pants," Jeff Stewart of The Bell Law Firm said. "That ticket serves as the written contract between the ski area operator and the skier. The contract typically states, in part, that the skier assumes the risk of any injury to person or property resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing and may not recover from any ski area operator for any injury resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing."

Those dangers and risks, he said, typically include: changing weather conditions; existing and changing snow conditions; bare spots; rocks; stumps; trees; collisions with natural objects, man-made objects, or other skiers; variations in terrain; and the failure of skiers to ski within their own abilities.

"What the contract does not and could not properly include is denial by the operator of its own liability when injuries occur as a result of a non-inherent danger, such as a malfunctioning chairlift," Stewart said. "Under West Virginia law, operators have a legal obligation to maintain their ski areas, which includes chairlifts, in a reasonably safe condition. The failure to properly maintain its equipment, which may be evidenced by a broken chairlift, leaves the operator liable (negligence per se) for any injury, loss and damage caused."

Individuals with questions about injuries and potential claims may contact The Bell Law Firm, PLLC, to discuss them.

SOURCE The Bell Law Firm, PLLC