Zip-line crash victims lose lawsuit

The B.C. Supreme Court has ruled against two women who sued a Whistler outdoor adventure company over injuries they suffered after they crashed into one another while zip-lining.
Two women injured in a zip-lining accident have lost their lawsuit. ((Ken Haufle))

The B.C. Supreme Court has ruled against two women who sued a Whistler outdoor adventure company over injuries they suffered after they crashed into one another while zip-lining.

According to the ruling released Friday, the women argued the liability waivers they'd signed with Cougar Mountain Adventures Ltd. shouldn't have applied because the company admitted employee negligence led to the crash.

When ziplining, participants are strapped into a harness attached to a wheeled trolley and then slide along a suspended line.

In an outing in August 2007, Deanna Loychuk was sent down the line run by Cougar Mountain Adventures, but she stalled about 500 metres away from the end of the run.

At the same time, Danielle Westgeest was given the ok to head down the line by another Cougar employee.

Westgeest slammed into Loychuk at high speed.

Before setting out, both women had signed a one-page release, waiving all rights to sue the company.

The women argued the waiver could not absolve the company of the acknowledged negligent actions of the employees.

But Justice Richard Goepel disagreed, writing that the waiver they signed provided the company with a complete defence from the lawsuit.

Goepel added that ziplining was a hazardous activity and by signing, Loychuk and Westgeest took the risk on themselves.

The women’s lawyers also had referred during the case to recommendations from a Law Reform Commission call for changes to liability waivers in B.C.

But Goepel ruled that since there's no new legislation on the books, the Cougar waiver was valid as it was.