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Man, woman collect $234K for faulty zip line

A property management company and a homeowner have agreed to pay $234,000 to a man and a woman injured while riding a defective zip line on the rental property, the plaintiffs’ attorney reports.

Winslow Taylor of Taylor & Taylor in Winston-Salem said that the woman settled her claim for $225,000 and the man settled for $9,000 in the incident that left her with permanent ankle injuries and him with a fractured thumb.


Many details of the case were withheld pursuant to a confidentiality agreement.

The plaintiffs, a 40-year-old Atlanta woman and her stepfather, rented a mountain home just outside Banner Elk for a 2019 summer vacation, Taylor said. The homeowner’s zip line was too steep and its braking system faulty, Taylor said, which caused the woman to descend too fast and crash into a tree. The man fractured his thumb when he tried to slow her down.

Taylor said that while neither the rental instructions nor welcome binder provided significant information about the zip line, guestbook entries indicated that it was potentially unsafe.

“There was one or two references in that book like, ‘Oh, the zip line claimed another victim. Little Timmy’s finger got hurt,” Taylor said. “I obviously contended that was prior notice.” Taylor added that the state’s rental act requires a homeowner and landlord for short-term rentals to maintain a safe property.

Taylor said that the woman’s injuries are still painful and that she will never again be able to actively play with her children or participate in one of her favorite activities.

“She was a big runner, she would run a bunch of 5Ks and 10Ks and her ankle never really healed back,” Taylor said. “Her doctor told her that sometime in the future she should expect an ankle fusion surgery.

The surgery requires the patient to stay off their feet for several months and forever limits their mobility, Taylor said.

Follow Heath Hamacher on Twitter @NCLWHamacher



Amount: $225,000 for one plaintiff and $9,000 for the other

Injuries alleged: Severe ankle injuries to one plaintiff and a fractured thumb to the other

Case name: Withheld

Court: Settled pre-suit

Date of settlement: Nov. 10

Most helpful experts: Robert Nickell (zipline expert) and Dr. Deborah Kowalchuck of Duluth, Georgia

Attorney for plaintiff: Winslow Taylor of Taylor & Taylor in Winston-Salem

Attorney(s) for defendant: Withheld



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