Jun 13, 2006, 8:22 AM
Post #1 of 147
Why zero liability?
Right now before starting AFF program and not knowing enough about this sport I still do not agree entirely with the waiver policy that is practiced at most dropzones( not all of them): the zero liability policy where you give up your rights to sue the DZ for any reasons. Now it is very clear to me that there is inherent risk that must be accepted in order to jump. However if , say, there is a packing error that caused the trouble( not necessarily a fatal trouble) why shouldn't the packer be liable? Human error is understable but that applies to the surgeon that cuts you open also. He performs much more complicated tasks than the packer yet he is liable and we all know what malpraxis means. Of course accepting the liability might mean extra indsurance costs for the packer that are passed to the jumpers but I think it is necessary. I am overconcerned about safety issues and to me that kind of waiver sends the wrong message because, to get back to my example, when I hire a packer I have only the faith in his abilities at my disposal and nothing else. A limited liability for the service performed is necessary everywhere in any industry.
A limited liability for the service performed is necessary everywhere in any industry.
Why? If you don't want to sign the waiver, you just don't jump (or learn to pack yourself and accept your own liability). Skydiving is risky even when everyone does everything right. It can be very hard to prove that someone like a packer made a mistake in a lot of cases, but a jury may have no problem making that totally uninformed decision. It's easier to just inform anyone that wants to jump that they're taking their own risk. Skydiving wouldnt last long otherwise, at least not in the US...
This is not a sport for those who are not willing to take 100% responsibility for their own gear and actions in the air.
That said, this is also a sport where you could do everything right and still die.
You're taking that chance every time you get on an airplane. If you (and your family or whoever will be left to pick up the pieces if you die in this sport) is not willing to accept that risk, please don't jump. Seriously.
I'm not saying this to sound harsh, I'm saying this to help you begin to understand the reality of this sport. It is not something to be entered into lightly, and it is not something in which you should look for others to blame. If you choose to pay a packer, you are taking your chances that the packer does a good job. You're still responsible for the condition of that main.
Yes, you will have to rely on others in this sport. You need a plane and a pilot to get you to altitude. You pay your money and you take your chances that the aircraft is well-maintained and the pilot is skilled.
Unless you get a rigger's ticket, you will rely on someone else to pack your reserve. Again, you pay your money and you take your chances that the rigger is skilled and meticulous.
As a student, you will rely on the skill of your instructors to train you in the skills that you need to survive in this sport, and to tell you if, for whatever reason, they don't think you can develop those skills. Both during your official student progression and after, however, it will be entirely incumbent upon you to learn. They will give you information but you will need to take it upon yourself to truly learn, and once they're no longer holding your hand, you will really have to take it upon yourself to learn.
In none of those cases, though, should you expect the opportunity to sue if something goes wrong. The reality of this sport is that sometimes, even in the best operations, stuff goes wrong.
If you're not willing to take that chance, don't jump. It's that simple.
(This post was edited by NWFlyer on Jun 13, 2006, 8:31 AM)
I still do not agree entirely with the waiver policy that is practiced at most dropzones( not all of them): the zero liability policy where you give up your rights to sue the DZ for any reasons.
Then please don't skydive.
In reply to:
Now it is very clear to me that there is inherent risk that must be accepted in order to jump. However if , say, there is a packing error that caused the trouble( not necessarily a fatal trouble) why shouldn't the packer be liable?
No, you are not clear on the fact that there is inherent risk involved in throwing your body at the ground at a high rate of speed relying only on yourself and some fabric and line to save your ass.
Parachutes, even when packed and maintained correctly, can and do malfunction. Airplanes, even when operated and maintained correctly, can and do crash. Skydivers, even when attempting to do everything right, can and do screw up and hurt or kill themselves and/or their friends.
In reply to:
Of course accepting the liability might mean extra indsurance costs for the packer that are passed to the jumpers but I think it is necessary.
There is no insurance available to people who pack parachutes. The person packing mains for money is making $5-10 per pack job. I don't know anybody who is willing to risk losing everything they own to make $5-10, do you?
In reply to:
I am overconcerned about safety issues and to me that kind of waiver sends the wrong message because, to get back to my example, when I hire a packer I have only the faith in his abilities at my disposal and nothing else.
The waiver sends the right message. The message is - you are responsible for everything involved in assuring that you survive your skydive.
When you use a packer, you are paying for a pack job. You are not paying for a guaranteed good opening. Don't like that concept? Pack it yourself.
If you've jumped, you've signed a waiver. It's a binding legal document. By signing it, you've promised not to sue. Were you lying when you made that promise?
Probably I did not make myself understood. I am not looking to sue anyone. I do not put a price on physical pain and also I am aware of the risks. The problem is when you go in a comercial airliner you indeed take a chance that the plane is checked and in good running condition but you are not handed however a piece of paper from the company that says:" We are not liable even if WE WERE negligent and did not check the plane" And this statement like " take it as is or leave it" works up to a point. How am I supposed to choose then as a newbie? Based on what? The advice of whom? There must be minimal standards and regulations. The plane must be maintained , the packer must be trained and examined etc etc... Again I am NOT saying that these things are not done. They are otherwisw I would not jump. BUT: if by some crazy reasons they are not performed there is no penalty. All we have is pure trust I I doubt that you who read my message would ride a car with me if I don't have insurance. So in the end I will give skydiving a try but a still think that the poor image of this sport can be improved by changing a little bit the message in that waiver.
>However if , say, there is a packing error that caused the trouble >( not necessarily a fatal trouble) why shouldn't the packer be liable?
Because you AGREED to accept the risk of using his (possibly faulty) packjob. If you do not wish to accept that risk, then do not use a packer. There are some student programs (military ones, for example) where you pack your own parachute before jumping it.
>I am overconcerned about safety issues . . .
Then DO NOT JUMP! Skydiving is not a safe sport, and we trade off safety with convenience, economy and thrill. You may well want more safety than skydiving can provide. If that's the case, there are many other sports that allow you to sue more easily, and present far less risk to the participant.
The bottom line in skydiving is that it is NOT like heart surgery, or car maintenance, or golf. In those endeavors, they make choices to decrease the risk of serious injury or death. In skydiving, often we make choices that increase the risk of serious injury or death - because we like the benefits of doing that (jumping a smaller canopy, jumping with other people, freeflying etc.) If you are uncomfortable with that - or, more accurately, believe that other people should be held accountable for your decision to participate in such a sport - do not jump.
>The problem is when you go in a comercial airliner you indeed take >a chance that the plane is checked and in good running condition but > you are not handed however a piece of paper from the company > that says:" We are not liable even if WE WERE negligent and did not > check the plane"
Right. One might reasonably conclude that commercial airlines are a lot safer than skydiving, which would be an accurate assessment.
>And this statement like " take it as is or leave it" works up to a >point. How am I supposed to choose then as a newbie?
That's why the waiver is very, very explicit. That presents you with pretty much everything you need to know. You can be injured through someone else's negligence and will be unable to sue. Our waiver puts it pretty explicitly - if you are injured during a jump, that waiver could be the most important document you ever signed in your whole life, because it might mean you will spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair with no one to recover damages from.
>Again I am NOT saying that these things are not done.
Often they are not done. Often packers have ZERO formal training, and do not pass any FAA or state mandated tests before packing student mains. Again, if you are uncomfortable with that, do not jump.
>I doubt that you who read my message would ride a car with me if >I don't have insurance.
I would, if you were a good driver and were in good shape. We put a lot more faith on competence than on legal liability in this sport.
(This post was edited by billvon on Jun 13, 2006, 8:55 AM)
So in the end I will give skydiving a try but a still think that the poor image of this sport can be improved by changing a little bit the message in that waiver.
We don't want to change the message. We want it to be loud and clear that, "Skydiving is a dangerous activity that can cause serious injury or even death."
You really need to understand that a small snag during the opening sequence can cause you to die. Your fault, their fault, nobody's fault; it is the risk you must be willing to sign for; before taking. You don't like the wording... move on.
You do not need to sign it! All you need to do is: Buy your own airfield Buy ypur own plane Hire your own pilot Build your own rig,reserve,and main (remember, if its not TSO'd the pilot won't let you out of your plane) Jump But, you better have some insurance because if you manage to get a good canopy over your head you still don't know how to fly it and will probably land on "Farmer Brown" in the next field over, causing bodly harm and property damage which he will sue you for all your worth! Have Fun
I know I am not a skydiver per-se (yet - hopefully) but I do know one thing - It does not matter what paperwork you sign, what the waiver says, in any activity (not just skydiving) you can sue them if you can show negligence on their part.
There is a diffence between inherent risk and negligence.
I was driving down the road yesterday and saw a dump truck that said on the back "not responsible for falling debris" But surely they are if they damage your car because of negligence in securing their load.
The key word is negligence...
Just my two cents (and you know what that buys!)
(This post was edited by skinnyfat on Jun 13, 2006, 9:23 AM)
> It does not matter what paperwork you sign, what the waiver says, in > any activity (not just skydiving) you can sue them if you can show > negligence on their part.
Nope. Skydiving is considered an ultra-hazardous activity, and is treated differently by the courts:
-------- This doctrine, first enunciated in Rylands v. Fletcher (1868) L.R. 3 H.L. 330, imposes liability for damage proximately caused by one who carries on an "ultrahazardous" activity. The modern theory of liability for ultrahazardous activity is that certain activities create such a serious risk of danger that it is justifiable to place liability for any resultant loss on the person engaging in the activity, regardless of lack of culpability on his part. (Hulsey v. Elsinore Parachute Center (1985) 168 Cal.App.3d 333) One who engages in ultra hazardous activity may be found liable without a showing of negligence. ----------
>I was driving down the road yesterday and saw a dump truck that > said on the back "not responsible for falling debris" But surely they > are if they damage your car because of negligence in securing their > load.
a) you didn't sign anything agreeing to allow a truck full of debris to drop stuff in front of you
b) driving is not an ultra-hazardous activity and
c) a truck that drops debris is violating motor vehicle codes.
(This post was edited by billvon on Jun 13, 2006, 9:29 AM)
Nothing because skydivers shouldnt sue. If anyone is stupid enough to hurl themselves at the ground and then assume its someone elses doing when they get hurt or die then they are idiots. You choose to do this as a hobby. You choose to sign those waivers, you choose to be a part of the sport. Dont like that you can die doing this? Dont like that you have no one to sue when you get hurt? Then find a DZ that doesnt require a waiver or a sport where you ARE willing to accept accountibility . EVEN the jumps where you are in training, its your skydive. Your money, YOUR LIFE, Your choice.... if you are not willing to lose it then dont sign and go somewhere else , because sooner or later you will be hurt or killed and if you arent someone you love will be in the name of this sport. Its a big thing to accept
Something doesnt feel right, then dont do it...
Something scares you to the point of panic dont do it...
Not willing to play by the rules that have been passed down to us from the days of the round warriors who have shaped this sport...then find something else to do with your spare time.
You are falling out of a plane, this isnt a knitting circle. Accidents happen, theres almost always something that could have been done to stop it but in the end you have final say on if you get on that aircraft each and every time, you made the choice all for fun.
We are regulated a bit, and the FAA has certain say in things. The DZ is owned by a person who spends their life making shit for money(most the time) to carry our sorry asses to altitude... want to sue, slip in wal-mart, want to skydive.... initial, sign and jump.
For instence me, I accept that I could die, but after a yearish in the sport and 90sh jumps I realized that I dont accept the fact that I do not have the money nor the physical ability to jump enough to stay more current and I have people in my life who are to young to accept their mother dying for a sport , at this time I am not prepared to change my life for a sport, nor am I prepared to jump more and to me thats less safe never did it cross my mind I could sue, or that I should have the rights to. Its called accountibility for yourself. And looking past the adrenilin of the moment. I cant jump the way I need to, to make me feel more confident in my survival skills so its gone for now. Maybe you should consider making the same decsion until you are ready to accept this sport for what it is and not try to change it in this regards
(This post was edited by lisamariewillbe on Jun 13, 2006, 9:37 AM)
I am willing to accept inherent risk but not negligence on anyones part. Hopefully, you wouldn't accept it either.
There is also a difference between an accident (no ones fault really) and someone being grossly negligent in their actions or responsibility.
My interaction with the skydiving community has shown nothing but the utmost respect for the risks involved and have been very safety conscious, as they should be. That is why negligence can not be tolerated, I hope anyone would agree..
I will pack for you, and I will accept the responsibility that if I am grossly negligent in performing my duties as a packer, you can sue me. The problem here is that I am not a rigger, so you will need to become one so that I can pack under your supervision. In addition, I charge $100,000 per pack job.
I am willing to accept inherent risk but not negligence on anyones part.
Then please be sure to inform every person you ever jump with, every pilot who ever flies a load you are on, every packer who ever packs your main, every rigger who ever packs your reserve, every person who sells you gear, every manufacturer who's equipment you jump and everybody else involved in you making a skydive of how you feel.
If you think you have the right to sue for any reason, even though you've signed a legal document that explicitly states that you won't sue, then all of those people have the right to refuse to jump with you, fly a load you are on, pack your main or reserve and/or sell you gear.
That is why negligence can not be tolerated, I hope anyone would agree..
No one is saying that negligence should be tolerated. But I'm still not going to try to get out of the waiver that I have signed so that I can sue someone.
At this point in my skydiving career (non-student, own my own gear, not a rigger), there are essentially three things that are out of my control:
1) The ride to altitude. I am going to take responsibility for the thing I can control - choosing not to jump somewhere where there is evidence of any negligence. Sometimes that might be obvious, sometimes it might just be a gut instinct about the attitude of the pilot or the owner of the aircraft. Either way... it's still my call who to trust. I know the risks of general aviation and jump plane operations and choose to accept them.
2) My reserve pack job. I have chosen not to get a riggers ticket at this time. Therefore, I am choosing to rely on someone else. All I can do is my best due diligence to find someone I trust. If I do that and he/she still fucks up, I'm not going to sue them.
3) Other jumpers/other traffic. I will do everything within my power to ensure that I don't get fucked up by someone else in this sport. That means I'd better be taking spotting seriously and not saying "well, that plane wasn't *supposed* to be in the jump plane's airspace." It means that I have my head on a swivel to avoid canopy collisons, even if they're not my fault. It means I will not remain silent if I see someone doing something that makes me uncomfortable and puts me at risk. It means that I will carefully choose who I jump with and avoid being in freefall with people that I am not comfortable with.
All that said, people can still do some dumb shit and hurt me either in freefall or under canopy. I've done some dumb shit. I probably will continue to make mistakes. I'm human, people jumping are human, and we don't always exercise the best judgment or make the right decisions. One might even call it negligent behavior. I'm willing to take that chance to participate in this sport.
(This post was edited by NWFlyer on Jun 13, 2006, 9:57 AM)