For many, wintertime means a trip to a ski resort. Unfortunately, skiing can be dangerous. Many Americans each year suffer from injuries at the ski resort. Some of these injuries arise from the use of a ski lift.

If you or your loved one has been injured because of a ski lift, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our ski lift injury lawyers.

What is a Ski Lift?

A ski lift is a type of transportation used to move skiers to the top of a ski slope. Because getting to the top of a ski slope with ski gear is a hassle, most ski resorts have ski lifts to expedite the process. Ski lifts are generally motor-powered and connected by cables or chains. The “chairs” in the lifts move along the cables or chains from the bottom of the ski slope to the top of the ski slope and then back down again in an endless loop. Though ski lifts are designed to hold great weight and have safety features in case a cable or chain breaks, ski lift accidents nevertheless occur. Some ski resorts have not upgraded their old lifts even though they may be more than a decade old. As a result, it is not surprising that fatalities occur.

Cause of ski lift Injuries

Though a minor malfunction of ski lifts can just leave skiers stranded in the air for minutes to hours, more dangerous malfunctions can mean serious injuries or even fatalities. Sometimes, the injuries may even occur when boarding the ski lift itself.

Welding Failure

Welding failures simply mean that the ski lift was not manufactured to stay assembled while in motion. You can imagine why this would be a problem. If a ski lift starts to fall apart while in motion, it means that the rider will fall from the ski lift along with the parts that fall apart.

Wire Entanglement

Sometimes, the cables that operate a ski lift can get tangled, causing the individual chairs to dump passengers overboard. Of course, the severity of the injuries an individual suffers depends on the height from which the individual falls.

Detachable Lift Failures

Some ski resorts have ski lifts that use detachable chairs. These chairs allow for faster movement, as they are looser than chairs that are “fixed” to the ski lift. However, being easily detachable means that the chairs can detach more easily by accident. As a result, accidents are more likely on ski lifts that have detachable chairs than those that do not have detachable chairs.

Shaking or Swaying Lifts

When there are high winds or if the chairs on a ski lift are not properly attached to the lift, the chairs can swing or sway excessively. With enough force, passengers can be ejected from the lift, causing severe injuries or even death.

Improper Loading

Though many injuries occur to passengers because the ski lift itself is defective, some injuries can occur because passengers do not properly secure themselves in the ski lift. For instance, there are cases where children are put into a chair meant for adults and end up falling off.

Read More: How Dangerous are Ski Chairlifts?

Typical Injuries from Ski Lift Accidents

  • Broken bones
  • Head injury
  • Shoulder injury
  • Exposure (ski lifts that end up getting stuck can lead to passengers being exposed to extreme cold for a long time)
  • Spinal injuries

Reducing the Likelihood of a Ski Lift Injury

Though we cannot always make sure that a ski lift is operating properly, you should look for warning signs that a ski lift is not safe. If the chairs on a ski lift are moving erratically or too fast, you should not get on the lift. If there is extreme wind and the chairs are swinging unevenly, you should not get on the lift. In addition to looking for signs of the ski lift being unsafe, you should also make sure that you have protective gear on. Always make sure that you are wearing enough clothing to protect yourself from cold weather. If you happen to get stranded on a ski lift, you will want to make sure you do not suffer from exposure. You should also make sure you wear a helmet and other protective gear to protect yourself from a possible fall.

What to Do After a Ski Lift Injury

1. Assess Your Injuries and Get Medical Attention

Your health is your number one priority. After a ski lift injury, make sure that you receive medical attention. Even if you believe you are fine, you should still go to a doctor to make sure that there are not any abnormalities. There are plenty of cases where a plaintiff feels fine after an accident, does not receive immediate medical attention, and later suffers from latent injuries. In such cases, the plaintiff often loses out on compensation because the defendant successfully argues that the plaintiff’s injury is not as serious as he or she claims because he or she did not report the injury right away. Do not let this happen to you.

2. Collect Evidence and Witness Information

If you are able, take photographs of the scene of the accident and the injuries you received.

Because witness testimony can be valuable in a personal injury lawsuit, if there were witnesses to the accident, you should also get the names and contact information of the witnesses. If any of the witnesses took photographs or video recordings of the accident, ask them for copies.

3. Hire an Attorney

Depending on the severity of your injury, you may wish to hire an experienced attorney. A minor sprain may not require an attorney, but if your injury has prevented you from working, you should consider hiring a lawyer. Furthermore, whether you may wish to hire an experienced attorney may depend on who caused the accident. If the ski resort was responsible for the accident, you may not want to fight alone, as a ski resort probably has an experienced legal team on its side.


In general, when you file a personal injury claim based on a ski lift injury, you will file a claim arguing that the defendant was negligent. To prove that the defendant was negligent, you must show that:

  • The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff
  • The defendant breached that duty of care
  • The defendant’s breach was the cause of the injury
  • The plaintiff was injured

For instance, if you were injured because the ski resort failed to properly maintain its ski lift, you would argue the following in your claim against the ski resort.

  • The ski resort has a duty to maintain its ski lifts so that they are safe for passengers
  • The ski resort failed to do so by not maintaining the lift
  • The ski resort’s failure to do so caused the plaintiff’s injury
  • The plaintiff was actually injured

Negligence is not the only possible basis for your legal claim if your injury was caused by a ski lift. For instance, if your injury was caused by a defective ski lift, you may be able to file a defective product claim against the company that designed, manufactured, and distributed the lift.

Whom May I Sue?

First, you may be able to sue the ski resort itself. Though skiing is an inherently dangerous activity, it does not mean that ski resorts can be careless.  Because ski resorts have a duty to make sure that their equipment and environment are in good condition, you may have a claim if they failed to meet that duty. Furthermore, you may sue a ski resort if the operator of a ski lift was at fault. An employer is generally liable for the mistakes of an employee that lead to an accident even if the employer had no hand in causing the accident.

A defective ski lift can be a basis for a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the ski lift. You may sue the ski lift manufacturer on the legal theory of defective product liability. For instance, you may be able to sue a ski lift manufacturer by claiming that the ski lift had a manufacturing defect. You would argue this by saying that the ski lift that caused the injury had a defect not planned when it was being manufactured.

Read More: Who Is Responsible in a Ski Accident?

Possible Compensation from a Successful Ski Lift Injury Lawsuit

In general, you may receive damages from the responsible party if you are injured from a ski lift accident.

Economic losses include the following:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Damaged property
  • Past and future loss of earning capacity

Non-economic losses include the following:


The experienced Denver attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you with your personal injury claim. After an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case.

Call us today at  (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our ski lift injury lawyers.

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