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mattaman

Underage students

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With young people learning to skydive in wind tunnels, do we need to start exploring getting them in the air. I've seen the kids in the wind tunnels, and they are doing well. How are we going to deal with this, special ratings for instructors to work with them? Special equipment, or send them to Mexico?
Those stuck in maya, seek to be seen.

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send them to a country where liability is not an issue. never gonna happen here except for the kids of dzo's who are only going to sue themselves.
"We've been looking for the enemy for some time now. We've finally found him. We're surrounded. That simplifies things." CP

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In terms of liability, it must be pointed out that parents cannot sign away thier childs consent not to sue in the event of an injury. If a 16 yr old makes a tandem and is injured, the fact that their parents may have signed a waiver on thier behalf means nothing in a court of law. If that 16 year old breaks an ankle, they can sue everyone involved, and the waiver will not hold up in court. Anyone that takes up a student under 18 (or whatever the legal age of consent is in thier state, most states its 18, is risking everything they have for that one skydive. Something to think about.

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My other ride is a RESERVE.

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With young people learning to skydive in wind tunnels, do we need to start exploring getting them in the air.



There is more to skydiving than the freefall - after dancing around in a tunnel; children do not need to land a parachute -

And all that that implies.

-

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With young people learning to skydive in wind tunnels, do we need to start exploring getting them in the air.



No. There is a big difference between a tunnel and a skydive....Namely death.

I have seen DZO kids that rocked at the DZ. But I have seen kids that had no business in the air as well.

It would depend on the student, but even then the costs are too high. I have not, nor will I take an underage student. I do not take Tandems under the age of 18 either, and have turned them down before.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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Other than the obvious obstacles, is there an outside the box thinker who can put something out there. My reasoning, is that I do think the skydiving process benifits our mind, soul. Obvious limitations, good judgement are necessary, but on the liberal side, kids go black diamond skying, shoot guns, climb, fly, surf, etc. I am wondering, and I hate to see a process that I have dedicated my life to working with others to find, be restricted to adults children, instead of young adults.
Now, that said, out of the box replies are welcome, try not to critic those willing with the obvious stumbling blocks, c'mon, I know your out there
Those stuck in maya, seek to be seen.

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ids go black diamond skying, shoot guns, climb, fly, surf, etc.



The difference is the companies that provide for those activities. Even if there's not a business that facilitates such as a ski resort, there are businesses that provide gear. Basically all of those businesses involved have insurance available to cover themselves incase of injury or death.

I've met some kids that were champion level IPSC shooters. I've met kids that could ski stuff that I wouldn't even want to hike. I've seen kids that could barely reach the rudder pedals fly better then some jump pilots. In this case, ability and maturity isn't as big of a hurdle as civil liability.

The document that is commonly refered to as a "waiver" is actually a contract. Its a legal document that is signed by the involved parties stating that under contract they agree not to follow suit with any legal action if any injuries or death take place. That they understand that skydiving is a high risk activity. Why do we have this? Simply put, its due to the uninsurability of skydiving operations. Persons under the age of 18 are unable to legally sign a contract in this manner, so their signature would be worth no more then the handful of sheets of paper the document was printed on. On the otherhand, parents are unable to legally sign a contract of this type on behalf of their child.

So its not a case of maturity and ability, there will always be exceptions to examples given in regards to 18 being some magical number of years for that. However, it simply comes down to CYA. Cover Your Ass. I'm not going to take someone skydiving or teach them to skydive when I know that the legal document that gives me some shelter is completely null and void. Its rare that you'll find a DZO that will be willing to risk his/her business and holdings to let someone skydive a few years early. In the grand scale of life, what is another couple of years of waiting?
--"When I die, may I be surrounded by scattered chrome and burning gasoline."

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ok, once again, without stating the obvious, any ideas



Change society as a whole in regards to their thoughts on the use of lawsuits and personal responsibility. That or you can start a dropzone and actually get a company to underwrite the liability policy. That could be done. However, I would not expect to see tandem skydives being able to be sold for less then $900 per jump to cover the costs of the insurance policy. That's if you can get the company to underwrite on a per jump basis and not overall for the fiscal year using average numbers for the previous year.

Neither of which do I see as being practical in regards to reality or smart business practices.
--"When I die, may I be surrounded by scattered chrome and burning gasoline."

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This could be a cultural difference but what I dont understand clearly is if persons under the age of 18 cannot legaly 'contract' or sign the waiver for skydiving whats makes it permissabe for the same person to do so when they take up shooting or fly a plane?

Are you saying that the only reason that those business can aford it is due to a larger client base? If so, then wouldnt someone starting a business get the ball rolling in our sport.

I do not agree or disagree with the idea of children jumping. Personally I think it is on a case by case basis to make that choice. I believe that in NZ there is no age limit on tandems and it doesn't appear to have been a problem there. I dont think they have quite the same "I hurt myself so someone pay me for my mistake/stupidity" kind of nature.

Not meaning to be offensive towards people but I find the culture strange.
I like my canopy...


...it lets me down.

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If they're not "dropzone kids", I don't want to play with them. Losing a big lawsuit just doesn't sound like very much fun.



You should not be doing instruction then. You are equally capable of getting sued, and possibly losing, even if your student is over 18yrs of age. :S

Be safe
Ed
www.WestCoastWingsuits.com
www.PrecisionSkydiving.com

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If they're not "dropzone kids", I don't want to play with them. Losing a big lawsuit just doesn't sound like very much fun.



You should not be doing instruction then. You are equally capable of getting sued, and possibly losing, even if your student is over 18yrs of age. :S



Do you think losing a big lawsuit sounds like a lot of fun? :S I enjoy instructing and think I have a decent grasp of the risks. I also believe that my chances of losing a lawsuit are much lower with a valid waiver in my back pocket (i.e. signed by someone who can legally enter into a contract). Do you disagree with that?

Blues,
Dave
"I AM A PROFESSIONAL EXTREME ATHLETE!"
(drink Mountain Dew)

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If they're not "dropzone kids", I don't want to play with them. Losing a big lawsuit just doesn't sound like very much fun.



You should not be doing instruction then. You are equally capable of getting sued, and possibly losing, even if your student is over 18yrs of age. :S



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Do you think losing a big lawsuit sounds like a lot of fun? :S I enjoy instructing and think I have a decent grasp of the risks. I also believe that my chances of losing a lawsuit are much lower with a valid waiver in my back pocket (i.e. signed by someone who can legally enter into a contract). Do you disagree with that?




Have to pay the money out of your pocket to legaly defend yourself in court, waiver or not, will cost a small forture, and will surely not be any fun. Taking an under aged student 16-18yrs old, with a waiver signed by their legal guardian, will cost you the same in legal fee's should they decide to sue you, even after signing a waiver. Every instructor working for any DZ is taking that risk. Just because your working "for the DZ" doen't mean you dont get sue along with them.......[:/]

Ed
www.WestCoastWingsuits.com
www.PrecisionSkydiving.com

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Have to pay the money out of your pocket to legaly defend yourself in court, waiver or not, will cost a small forture, and will surely not be any fun. Taking an under aged student 16-18yrs old, with a waiver signed by their legal guardian, will cost you the same in legal fee's should they decide to sue you, even after signing a waiver. Every instructor working for any DZ is taking that risk. Just because your working "for the DZ" doen't mean you dont get sue along with them.......[:/]



I don't see the point in having a legal guardian sign a waiver for a child. It doesn't buy anything, as far as I know.

I agree that the potential to be sued exists with adults, and that the legal expenses will be high, but I think the chances of losing are less with a legally signed waiver. Also, I don't think "working for the DZ" buys me any slack on liability. By "dropzone kids" I meant children who've grown up on the dz, e.g. my child, the DZO's child, etc. I'll take 16 year old kids who've hung out on the DZ for years, because I think my chances of being sued are slimmer. As for Joe/Jane Q. Public...I'll make 'em wait till they're 18. Someday I may be proven wrong and be sued by the child of a friend because they broke an ankle while jumping under my supervision, but that (and worse) is a risk I'm willing to take...with minors I've known for awhile and who've seen what can happen when things go wrong.

Blues,
Dave
"I AM A PROFESSIONAL EXTREME ATHLETE!"
(drink Mountain Dew)

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Just because your working "for the DZ" doen't mean you dont get sue along with them.......[:/]

Ed


Are you sure? I think that may depend upon the jurisdiction. When lawsuits go against (say) the McDonalds Restaurant corp. Why don't the lawyers name every employee of the corporation? Or at least every employee of the unit that sold their client the hot coffee that was hot? I am pretty sure that employees at work enjoy some form of immunity in most jurisdictions when operating under standard corporate conditions.
(Lawrocket? You out there?)

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I am pretty sure that employees at work enjoy some form of immunity in most jurisdictions when operating under standard corporate conditions.



Not really. Its all about the money trail. Who has the money that would make it worth while to sue for? The guy working at McCrap making under $7 an hour doesn't matter to the lawyer. The multi-billion corporation that can cut a large check to settle out of court is who matters.

Now, bring that down to the smaller scale. The money is much smaller, business is much smaller and its very easy to get personally listed in the lawsuit. The "I was just following orders" aka "I'm just an employee" defense doesn't work. Or atleast it hasn't worked in the past. With that said, the majority of skydiving instructors out there don't have the net wealth to make it worth a lawyer's time. Wow, you won a 13" TV, 4 year old skydiving gear and a $10k trailer. However, that $1.2 million Super Otter sitting on the ramp and the company net worth of about the same...now that gives the lawyers something to drool over. Those are things that can be sold off for payment if they win.

I'm not going to bet my future on "security through obscurity" though. That's another reason why I like to stay within the BSRs, the FARs and manufacture's recommendations for working jumps. Its harder to prove gross negligence when you're abiding by the rules and its harder to win a lawsuit if there's no gross negligence. At the end of the day you can still counter-sue for the legal costs to try to keep your life together. Unfortunately, thats just apart of our *great* society's way of thinking.
--"When I die, may I be surrounded by scattered chrome and burning gasoline."

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If the money trail argument is the only reason employees don't get sued, why did the gun control lobby not go after the gun manufacturers' employees? Disruption and distress throughout their nemesis' workforce would have been a legitimate goal for these people, yet they did not go down this road.
You said it's harder to prove gross negligence when your abiding by the rules,...etc. if there is no waiver gross negligence is not required, only negligence of any degree; that is the point of having a valid waiver when you enter the courtroom.

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Are you sure? I think that may depend upon the jurisdiction. When lawsuits go against (say) the McDonalds Restaurant corp. Why don't the lawyers name every employee of the corporation? Or at least every employee of the unit that sold their client the hot coffee that was hot? I am pretty sure that employees at work enjoy some form of immunity in most jurisdictions when operating under standard corporate conditions.
(Lawrocket? You out there?)




Yes, I'm sure. Instructors are "Private Contractors" according to the DZ. If they make you sign a contract, be sure to read all of the document when you start working for them. ;)

Be safe
Ed
www.WestCoastWingsuits.com
www.PrecisionSkydiving.com

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You said it's harder to prove gross negligence when your abiding by the rules,...etc. if there is no waiver gross negligence is not required, only negligence of any degree; that is the point of having a valid waiver when you enter the courtroom.



That was my point. That the release of liability contract covers all except gross negligence and that abiding by the rules helps protect you from gross negligence.

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If the money trail argument is the only reason employees don't get sued, why did the gun control lobby not go after the gun manufacturers' employees? Disruption and distress throughout their nemesis' workforce would have been a legitimate goal for these people, yet they did not go down this road.



Ok, show me some valid case law that gives workers a free pass. I'm by no means a lawyer, but I have done some reading on this subject. I've yet to find any case law that shows a worker exception.
--"When I die, may I be surrounded by scattered chrome and burning gasoline."

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A lawyer will have to correct me, but unless you are an independent contractor, you are an agent of the DZ. If you are sued from conduct relating to your daily work conditions then they have to pay the legal fees and the judgement.

If I am running errands for the partner of my accounting firm, and I get into a fender bender, the firm is liable.

I may be named in the suit, but they are required to pay for my legal defense, and the judgement if I lose.

If I am commuting to work, that is outside the scope of my job, and it is up to myself and my insurance company to deal with the suit.
"The restraining order says you're only allowed to touch me in freefall"
=P

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When lawsuits go against (say) the McDonalds Restaurant corp. Why don't the lawyers name every employee of the corporation? Or at least every employee of the unit that sold their client the hot coffee that was hot?



Because of the theory of respondeat superior. The employer is liable for damages caused by an employee if the employee caused the harm in the course and scope of employment. Say a delivery truck driver causes an accident. The delivery truck driver gets sued, along with the employer.

There's no use suing office workers, other drivers, etc., for whom there is no just cause to sue. The company itself - as a whole - is considered a person, so leave it at that. The company is better suited to eat the loss, since lawsuits are simply a cost of doing business, and the employer can spread the cost.

Independent contractors are tricky things for which a whole different set of laws is set up. The person or company who hires the independent contractor can be sued under theories such as negligence for th "hiring" of the contractor, or under other theories of implied duties, etc.


My wife is hotter than your wife.

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