Skydiving accident compensation claims
This article sets out what you should know about making a skydiving accident compensation claim.
Skydiving, including group, tandem and solo jumps, is increasing in popularity. The sport is an inherently dangerous activity, carrying the risk of very serious injury and death in the event of an accident. Due to this risk, however, safety standards are extremely high, and accidents are rare.
Despite rigorous safety protocols, serious injury can occur where these standards are ignored or regulations are breached. The British Parachuting Association (BPA) estimates that fatalities occur in approximately 1 in 540,000 jumps, with novices sustained some degree of injury in 1 in 170 jumps.
If you have been injured as the result of inadequate training, faulty equipment or health and safety breaches, you may be entitled to compensation.
If you were injured in a skydiving accident in the last three years and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.
Due to the inherent dangers of jumping out of a moving plane and free-falling for thousands of feet, skydiving schools must follow stringent regulations, and the BPA publish guidelines which all qualified instructors in the UK must follow. Many people choose to skydive abroad, however, where such strict guidelines may not be imposed.
Before taking part in a jump, an instructor should go through a number of training procedures with participants. This should include how to exit the plane safely, how to perform some simple manoeuvres while in the air, the correct position to take while free-falling, and the correct position to take when landing. The instructor should also teach some basic hand signals to facilitate mid-air communication.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
Common injury claims arising from unsafe skydiving jumps include:
- Soft tissue and whiplash claims resulting from unsafe parachute opening or impact on landing
- Cuts and abrasions-related claims following incorrectly-fitted parachute fastenings
- Leg injury claims and claims for back injuries arising from the impact of landing, for example claiming compensation for a broken ankle
It is also possible for dependants to claim compensation following a death of very serious injury, however the incidence of such cases is extremely low.
A tandem skydive is the most common form of skydive that members of the public take part in, and describes a jump where the participant is securely attached to a trained skydive instructor.
The professional skydiving instructor is responsible for ensuring that the skydive goes smoothly. It is their responsibility to deploy the parachute at the correct altitude and navigate the flight to a safe landing at the designated drop zone.
If you have been injured during a tandem skydive, you may be able to make a claim against the skydiving instructor, or the company they work for. Your solicitor will confirm against whom a claim should be made when you start the claims process.
Indoor skydiving takes place inside a large cylindrical room with a powerful fan built into the floor. When the fan runs, the power of the air enables people to experience the feeling of free-falling from the safety of the ground.
Indoor skydiving is a popular activity for those who want to experience the feeling of skydiving in a safe environment, or for more experienced skydivers to practice techniques.
As with outdoor skydiving, indoor skydiving is carefully regulated for health and safety reasons. Anyone partaking should be briefed on health and safety, and given training before taking part. Suitable safety equipment should also be provided.
Beginners should not be allowed to enter the indoor skydiving area without a trained professional. If you have been injured while indoor skydiving, you may be able to make a compensation claim.
To make a compensation claim for a skydiving injury you will need to be able to prove that your injury happened as a result of negligence of the skydiving centre or the instructor who was in charge when you took part.
Skydiving waivers and personal injury claims
Centres usually require participants to sign a waiver before taking part in the skydive, but this does not mean that you will be unable to make a claim against them if they have failed in their duty of care.
Under the Unfair Contract Terms Act, it is not generally possible for an individual to "sign away" their right to make an injury claim by agreeing to a waiver.
A claim is less likely to succeed if you have been injured as the result of a foreseeable risk where you consented to take that risk, but in cases where injury resulted from the negligence of your instructor, the claim will likely succeed even if you have signed a waiver.
If you are unsure as to whether you can make a claim, an injury solicitor will be able to advise you on whether the terms of any waiver you have signed are valid and enforceable.
The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.
Personal injury solicitors now work on a No Win, No Fee basis.
No Win, No Fee means that if your claim is not successful, you will not need to pay any legal fees.
If you do win your case, a success fee will be deducted from the compensation award and paid to your solicitor.
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About the author
With over 20 years' experience in the law, Jenny has spent the last decade specialising in personal injury, with a particular focus on industrial disease cases.
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