Skydiving Accident Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a skydiving accident, we can help.
If your injuries were caused by someone else's actions or negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor
You can make a sports injury compensation claim with the help and support of a solicitor.
Your solicitor will ask you about what happened, and they will collect evidence to prove what caused your injuries. Your solicitor will then identify who is legally responsible. Based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses they will also work out how much money you can claim.
We can help you make a sports injury compensation claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
In this article
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. Safety standards are extremely high and accidents are rare.
Despite rigorous safety protocols, however, 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 sustaining 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.
Do I have an injury claim?
It should be possible to make an injury claim if your injury happened:
- within the last 3 years, and;
- another person was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Injury claim eligibility - Common questions
What if a child was injured?
The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.
A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start an injury claim on their own behalf.
Do I need a diagnosis to make a skydiving accident claim?
If you have been injured and are awaiting the results, you should still seek legal advice as soon as possible. The sooner you start a skydiving accident claim after an accident, the more likely your claim is to succeed.
Skydiving health and safety
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.
Common skydiving injuries
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.
Making a compensation claim for a skydiving accident
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 money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after an injury? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?
If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.
The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.
General damages for a life-altering back injury can be £65,000
For a less serious leg injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £7,500.
However, if you have a life-altering back injury and a less serious leg injury, you would typically receive £65,000 + a reduced percentage of £7,500.
Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries. Read more about multiple injury claims.
What is the average injury compensation for an injury claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following an injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
Can I claim for an existing skydiving accident that has got worse?
Yes, it is possible to pursue a claim in the event that a pre-existing medical condition, illness or injury is made worse or aggravated by an accident or someone else's negligence.
Calculate my injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an injury can be complicated.
Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.
Find out what your injury claim could be worth now:
- Instant accurate calculation
- Checks your right to claim
- Confirms No Win, No Fee eligibility
How long does a skydiving injury claim take?
The length of time needed to secure compensation for a skydiving accident can vary considerably.
For example, a simple uncontested sports injury claim might be concluded in a couple of months. If liability is denied, the process might take considerably longer. On average a sports injury claim takes between 6 and 9 months. Read more: How long will my claim take?
How else can a solicitor help me?
Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial FREE case evaluation, through to the financial settlement.
Your solicitor will work with other specialists to provide caring and sensitive support and help you with:
- Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
- Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
- Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
- Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.
Less than 5% of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.
Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.
No win, no fee
No Win, No Fee is an agreement with your solicitor (known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) that means that you can make an injury claim with:
- no upfront legal fees
- no solicitor's fees payable if your claim is not successful
- a success fee payable only if your claim is successful
No Win, No Fee is the most common way to make a compensation claim.
Our no win, no fee guarantee
If you have been injured through no fault of your own, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making an injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my injury claim?
If your injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees . Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
Why do most solicitors charge 25%?
25% success fees are charged by most law firms as this is the maximum fee that the Ministry of Justice allows them to charge. skydiving accident claims can take a solicitor hundreds of hours work and they receive nothing if the case is lost. The success fee will be subject to your individual circumstances and the actual fee may vary. Call us for more information.
How we can help you
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open:
- 8am to 9pm weekdays
- 9am to 6pm on Saturday
- 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
- Find out
if you can claim
- No obligation
to start a claim
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?
Yes. You may still be able to claim compensation even if your actions may have contributed to the accident.
However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.
How long do I have to make an injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an injury after 3 years?
Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.
However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.
If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.
There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
I need the money now - what are my options?
If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.