Skiing is a popular wintertime activity; it's a fun way to keep in shape, a popular family vacation activity, and an all-around pleasant way to escape a mundane and stressful daily routine. The resort business booms in the winter months as people flock to warm lodges and powder-covered slopes for fun and relaxation. It's during this downtime that we want to forget our responsibilities and kick back, but in the process often forget the hazards that accompany it, resulting too often in injuries-and even wrongful deaths.
At ski resorts, people often travel from trail to trail via chairlifts; large seats suspended in the air that are machine-operated to transport ski-goers via cable to their destination. As we know, any mode of travel poses a risk to its passengers, no matter the location or destination. This was highlighted by a tragic loss a Texas family suffered on a trip to the Granby Ranch in Colorado.
Equipment malfunction leads to one fatality, two injuries
An express chairlift was on its way up a mountain carrying a woman and her two daughters at the resort when something went wrong. The equipment powering the lift malfunctioned, causing its occupants to fall about 25 feet onto hard, packed snow. This brutal impact ended the life of the mother, who died from a ruptured aorta (the main artery leading away from the heart) and blunt force trauma to the torso. Her two daughters were injured and transported to hospital.
This devastating incident that left two girls, aged 9 and 12, without their mother opened an investigation and prompted questions about the liability involved in the accident. The lift, called the "Quickdraw Express," was quickly pulled out of operation while the cause was under speculation. A mechanical error was later identified: the chair's electric drive had been compromised during modification work from an independent contractor. Fatal chair falls are rare, and the chair was only authorized to return to service after inspection, licensing and extensive testing. However, accidents are unpredictable. What's to prevent this from happening again?
Granby Ranch has not released the identity of the independent contractor, and whether or not they have taken liability responsibility is unknown. When a fatal error occurs, the responsible party - whether that's the manufacturer, a repair professional, or the owner of the premises - should be held accountable.
In the event of a wrongful death, the surviving family members deserve experienced representation to help them through a traumatic experience, and unthinkable loss. Medical bills, combined with funeral expenses, can add up quickly. If you, or someone you know, is trying to cope with loss or devastating injury, contact us. We can provide you with a free case evaluation to best plan your course of action.