February 3, 2017
A ski lift accident claim has been resolved for an undisclosed amount after court proceedings were issued in France against the ski lift operator.
Twenty-five year old Tom Giddens – a student from Solihull, West Midlands – was on holiday at the Val Thorens Ski Resort in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, France, when he and a friend decided to go for one final run of the evening.
Although the light was beginning to fade, Tom and his friend got on the ski lift to ascend the slope but the ski lift stopped 200 feet from the top. The two men shouted for help, but nobody came to their assistance as the temperature dropped to -16 degrees.
Tom rang the emergency number printed on his ski lift pass, but was only able to get through to a recorded message. After thirty minutes of waiting for the lift to restart or help to arrive, Tom and his friend decided to jump down from the ski lift to the ground below.
Tom´s friend was able to lower himself down onto the bar of the ski lift and lumped to the ground without injury. However, when Tom tried the same approach, he landed awkwardly and broke his leg so badly that the bone pierced his skin.
Fortunately help arrived quickly, and Tom was taken down the slope on a bud wagon. He was treated at the resort´s medical centre before being taken to Moutiers Hospital, where a metal rod was inserted into his leg to help heal the broken bone.
Tom was flown back to the UK five days later and transferred to the Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield. He was discharged on crutches five weeks later, but had to undergo physiotherapy for eighteen months and has never regained the level of fitness he enjoyed prior to his accident.
After seeking legal advice, Tom made a ski lift accident claim against the operator of the ski lift – Societe D’Exploitation des Telepheriques Tarantaise-Maurienne – on the grounds that there had been a failure by the ski lift operator to maintain an acceptable standard of safety.
Liability for Tom´s injury was initially denied and the ski lift accident claim contested. However, after Tom´s solicitors issued court proceeding against the ski lift operator in France, the claim was resolved by negotiation for an undisclosed five-figure sum.