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Hitting the Slopes? Ski Lift Accident In WI Hurts 12

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By Minara El-Rahman on December 21, 2009 9:45 AM

A ski lift accident in Merrimac, Wisconsin injured a dozen skiers when a ski lift started to run backwards. According to USA Today, the ski lift accident happened on Thursday evening at the Devil's Head Resort. The ski lift was operating normally when it suddenly came to a halting stop and reversed direction.

As a result, many skiers attempted to jump off the ski lift or were injured when the ski lift hit the ground near the ski lift's base. USA Today reports that seven skiers were sent to Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital in Prairie Du Sac to be treated for "muscular skeletal" pains. One skier broke an ankle because of the ski lift accident. An additional seven skiers were sent to St. Clare Hospital in Baraboo.

While this ski lift accident is scary, it also brings up the question:

What is the Ski Resort's Liability?

If a skier can prove that the resort was negligent in maintaining its ski lift, or that it hired a ski lift operator who was negligent, then the skier may be able to recover against the ski resort.

However, it also depends on what state you ski in. Some states say that there is an assumption of risk when you ski. Other states hold that ski lifts are common carriers like buses. That means that ski resorts owe a higher duty of care.

Some states that have a greater duty of care are: Utah, Colorado and Vermont. You can view a great case about Utah ruling that ski-resort liability waivers are void here. However, Wisconsin has not adopted a ski safety statute. It also limits recovery in any recreational accident case, as a component of contributory negligence.

Whatever state you choose to ski in, just make sure you don't hit the slopes too hard.

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