A recent accident at the Devil’s Head ski resort in Wisconsin highlights an often-overlooked danger on ski slopes: defective ski lifts. For a Free Consultation with a top Chicago injury attorney, call Passen & Powell at (312) 527-4500.
On December 17, 2009, a “massive” mechanical failure involving a ski lift’s gearbox and back-up systems resulted in serious injuries to 14 people at the Wisconsin ski resort. This week, the state’s Department of Commerce concluded that faulty equipment installation and maintenance led to the mechanical failure. Those who sustain serious injuries caused by defective products should contact an attorney to discuss whether a cause of action exists.
A preliminary report relating to the Wisconsin ski lift accident indicates that the lift gear broke in three places, rendering the main brake useless. Other findings include:
• Improper installation of anti-rollback devices
• Rust and corrosion on backup braking devices
• Incomplete records of training and ski lift operation
Those seriously injured or killed by unreasonably dangerous or defective products may have a valid cause of action for negligence or product liability. If you have any question whether a serious “accident” was caused by negligence or a defective product, contact an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer at Passen & Powell today.
In the Wisconsin incident, A ski chair lift is comprised of a continuously circulating steel cable loop strung between two end terminals with supporting towers in between. Each terminal has a bullwheel, or large wheel that turns the rope or cable. The drive bullwheel contains the power source called a prime mover, which often contains an electrical motor. The gearbox controls the speed and direction of the lift so that skiers can easily and safely get on and off the lifts.
There are multiple braking systems in a ski lift, such as a service brake and emergency brake on the bullwheel that can aid in quickly stopping the ropeway or cable. Such systems must be inspected and properly maintained in order to function properly.
According to preliminary reports arising out of the Wisconsin ski lift accident, the backup braking systems were in disrepair, and needed to be replaced on at least 3 of the 10 ski lifts. For a Free Consultation with one of our personal injury and wrongful death attorneys, call Passen & Powell today at (312) 527-4500.