Seven people were injured and about 200 had to be rescued from a malfunctioning ski lift at Maine’s Sugarloaf Mountain late in March. According to a Sugarloaf representative, the King Pine ski lift inexplicably halted while in operation and then began going backward. One witness to the accident told ABC News, “We heard people screaming… There were people lying on the ground, they were definitely immobile.” The witness went on to note that the ski lift was careening backward “completely out of control.”
Some victims attempted to jump off the chairs as they reached the pulley at the bottom, but others were forcefully ejected from their seats and appeared to be severely injured. At least one of the chairs struck a lift tower. The remaining skiers who were stranded far above the ground waited as long as two hours before rescuers could belay them down with harnesses. It isn’t yet known if any of the survivors plan to file a ski lift malfunction lawsuit against the Maine resort.
The Maine ski accident attorneys at Hardy, Wolf & Downing have a longstanding track record of successfully advocating on behalf of families who have suffered injuries as a result of someone else’s negligent or reckless actions. If you or a family member has been injured in a ski accident, our personal injury lawyers in Maine are here to help.
Investigators pinpoint equipment malfunction
A spokesman for Sugarloaf Mountain gave a statement that indicated the ski lifts are all inspected daily. The resort immediately launched an internal investigation to determine why the ski lift malfunctioned. Several days after the ski lift accident occurred, the investigators released a report that stated the catalyst of the rollback was a fracture in the main drive shaft of the secondary gearbox of the lift. They also went on to point out an apparent design defect in the ski lift.
One of the redundant systems to uphold the safety of the ski lift is known as a “drop dog.” This is intended to prevent the lift from counter-rotating. However, the investigators determined that there was an inappropriate switch being used in this device’s safety circuit. This switch was provided by the lift manufacturer as part of the original design.
Establishing liability in ski lift accidents
Should the victims of the Sugarloaf Mountain accident choose to consult a Maine accident lawyer regarding a ski lift malfunction lawsuit, liability will need to be evaluated. Ski resorts are usually protected from liability in accidents that involve consequences of the inherent risks of skiing. For example, a ski resort might not be at fault if a beginning skier becomes injured on a black diamond slope.
However, the ski resort does have a legal responsibility to take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of its guests. A ski resort might be held liable for an improperly maintained and malfunctioning chairlift, for example. Or, the ski lift manufacturer may be named as the defendant for designing or manufacturing defective equipment that led to injuries.
Filing a ski lift malfunction lawsuit in Maine
When you partner with our law firm, we’ll put our extensive legal resources to work for you to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Schedule your no-obligation, no-fee consultation at our Maine law firm today by calling 1-800-INJURED.