West Palm Beach Skydiving Accident Lawyer
If you’re idea of a good time involves jumping out of a plane several miles above the Earth’s surface, it’s probably safe to say that you have an appetite for adrenaline. Still, that doesn’t mean you have a death wish. Fortunately, the sport of skydiving is actually relatively safe when you consider what it entails. Nonetheless, there are still risks involved, meaning you should know what your rights are if you plan on jumping soon.
Statistics on Skydiving Accidents
Let’s start here first. Again, the sport is actually very safe, especially when you put it into perspective. For example, there are roughly 10 million car accidents every year, but you’ll probably ride in one today or tomorrow. 40,000 of those accidents will even involve a fatality. Still going to get into a car?
Of course! Now, though, consider that there were just 21 skydiving deaths in 2010, the last year we have numbers for. This is true despite the fact that there were some 3 million jumps completed that year. Your chances of dying from a skydiving accident are 0.0007%. Every 10,000 miles you drive give you a 0.0167% chance of dying (you have a much higher chance of getting into some kind of accident).
In any case, you’re approximately 24 times more likely to end up dead from traveling in the car than jumping out of a plane with a parachute.
Who Is Liable?
Those 21 people who died in 2010 still deserve justice, of course, as would anybody who dies during a skydiving accident. The question, though, is who is liable? There are a lot of factors to consider in a skydiving case. For example:
- Was the chute properly packed?
- Who packed it?
- Did the person jump alone?
- Did the person jump when they were supposed to?
- Did someone tell them to jump at the wrong time?
Some of these questions can be tough to get answers to. Obviously, planes used for skydiving are noisy even before the door is opened. There could be a miscommunication that leads a jumper to exit the plane too early, but this can be tough to identify with any certainty.
Think about the challenge of trying to prove someone packed another’s bag improperly. That may have happened or the jumper may have pulled their chute too late. It’s far from impossible to prove these things, of course, just very difficult.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Generally speaking, a fatality resulting from a skydiving accident would be seen by the courts as a wrongful death. That means you would handle the matter in civil court. The family members of the deceased would sue the responsible party for damages.
Again, though, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff and it could be a difficult one to prove. You also have to consider that before people parachuting, they have to sign pages of paperwork that amount to waivers. This allows the skydiving company to operate without having to fear liability to a large degree. These waivers make it that much more difficult to hold the skydiving company responsible (which is the point). If you think someone else, like a fellow skydive, is someone liable, you might have a case there.
If you think you have a wrongful death suit to pursue because of a skydiving accident, go speak with an attorney before proceeding. Your best bet would be to pick experienced legal representation though. That’s always a good idea, of course, but given the niche nature of this type of lawsuit, you definitely want someone who has looked at one of these cases before.