Ski & Snowboarding Accidents: Do You Have A Product Liability Lawsuit?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

How does product liability relate to ski and snowboarding accidents? The answer is – in more ways than you might think. We asked Jim Chalat, a Colorado attorney with over 30 years experience whose practice focuses on personal injury, and particularly ski accident law, to explain how product liability cases relate to this growing area of law.

Aging ski lifts an increasing problem

Product liability cases usually arise in connection with the ski lift cases, according to Chalat. He explained:

The United States has certified over 10,000 ski lifts – and many of them are aging. Just this season we’ve seen a catastrophic lift accident in British Columbia involving a Dopplemyer Tramway. This is the same model Tramway that you see in various places in the United States, including Keystone Colorado. These tramways are aging and they require maintenance and careful inspection.

Certification varies from state to state. In Colorado, we have a tramway board which actually inspects every lift in the state prior to it opening and issues a certificate. Then, during the season, there is supposed to be one unannounced inspection of every tramway, meaning chairlift, rope tow, gondola or other type of lift whether it is a magic carpet or any of these other variations that we see throughout the state. The board then passes on the safety of each chairlift and other tramway. It’s similar to an elevator inspection.

Ski operators generally get benefit of the doubt

One of the ongoing points of tension in the industry is the close relationship between members of these regulatory boards and the actual industry itself, according to Chalat. He explained:

That’s an ongoing issue that’s been addressed in Colorado and about which I’ve given my commentary. It is really a point of slippage in terms of the aggressiveness of the regulations throughout the United States because ski areas want their lifts to be licensed. They want to be opened. They want the lifts to be running.

States don’t typically want to close ski areas or close lifts unless they absolutely have to. So, usually all ties are called in favor of the ski area operator. There’s an impulse which the inspector can give to make sure that the ski area operator fixes or maintains its lift more safely. However, that doesn’t mean they can prevent every accident. It doesn’t mean that just because an inspector went and looked at the lift that they didn’t miss something that might later cause an injury or an accident.

That being said, Chalat thinks that it’s important to emphasize that the ski industry does a good job of maintaining lifts and tows. The technology and the designs are well thought out and are typically very, very safe.

If you’ve been injured in a skiing or snowboarding accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney whose practice focuses in this area of the law to discuss your situation, evaluate your options and find out more about potential damages. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption