Man sues Sunlight over lift accident |

Man sues Sunlight over lift accident

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Roger Wiener says it’s Sunlight Mountain Resort’s fault he was knocked down by a chairlift and injured in March.

Attorney James Heckbert, who works out of Steamboat Springs, filed a complaint Tuesday on behalf of Wiener in U.S. District Court in Denver. Wiener lives in Hackensack, N.J.

The complaint says Wiener was boarding the “Number 1” lift on March 11 when “he was knocked to the ground by a chair.”

Wiener claims he was knocked to the ground as a result of employee negligence and the resort’s failure to properly train and supervise employees. The complaint alleges employees failed to follow rules and regulations for safe operation of the lift. The complaint doesn’t go into further detail.

Heckbert couldn’t be reached and efforts to reach Wiener were unsuccessful earlier this week. Sunlight’s general manager, Tom Jankovsky, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Sunlight’s season passes note that, under Colorado law, skiers assume the risk of injury from inherent dangers of skiing. The statement adds that resort users must “have the physical dexterity and knowledge to safely load, ride and unload the lifts.”

According to the complaint, Wiener suffered permanent injuries including “a fracture of the neck of his left femur.” Wiener claims he has suffered damages, including pain and suffering, disability, medical expenses over $100,000, loss of earnings and earning capacity, and loss of enjoyment of life.

The complaint asks for a jury trial and a judgment against Sunlight for unspecified costs and damages more than $75,000.

Laws regarding skiing injuries are complex and vary by state. The Denver-based personal injury lawfirm Chalat Hatten and Koupal says on its website, “Over 90 percent of all lift cases arise while the skier is either loading or unloading and are a consequence of either skier error or improper (lift) operation rather than a design defect. The liability question is generally settled after balancing the operator’s duty to exercise the highest degree of care against the passenger’s duty to pay attention, have the requisite skills to board the lift, and to heed all posted information and instructions.”

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