Visitors to Hawaii take part in many recreational activities, including skydiving. Unfortunately, what’s meant to be a fun adventure can quickly result in injury if something goes wrong.
If you or someone you know is harmed by a skydiving accident, you may wonder who is liable. Our Honolulu personal injury lawyers explain.
Liability for Hawaii Skydiving Accidents
The skydiving company may be liable for an accident in Hawaii if the accident is the result of their negligence. They are not liable for the inherent risks of the activity if a participant signed a valid waiver. However, they are liable for negligence or more serious misconduct that results in injury.
Types of skydiving accidents
There are several ways that a skydiving accident may occur. In addition to problems during the jump itself, there may be accidents and injuries at different points during the activity, including:
- Mechanical problems with the airplane
- Pilot error during takeoff or flight
- Operating in poor weather conditions
- Air traffic control problems
- Problems during the jump, malfunctioning equipment, parachute failure
- Inadequate assistance from guides and facilitators
- Failing to determine if participants are physically fit to participate in the activity
- Lack of instruction on how to participate safely
- Injury on landing
- Motor vehicle accident during transportation
When liability applies, compensation may include economic and non-economic damages.
Hawaii Law for Skydiving Accidents
Hawaii law for skydiving accidents comes from both common law and Hawaii Statutes § 663-1.54. A skydiving company may be liable if their negligence results in harm.
Hawaii law § 663.1.54 governs recreational activity liability. It applies to many different types of activities. Skydiving is listed in examples of covered activities.
The law says that the skydiving company must exercise reasonable care for the safety of patrons and the public. They are liable to pay damages for injury resulting from their negligent acts or omissions.
Inherent risks and participant waivers
Some skydiving accidents result from the negligence of the operator or another entity. Other injuries occur because skydiving is a dangerous activity in general. Even when all precautions are taken, injuries can still happen. Whether or not the operator is liable for an injury that results from the inherent risks of the activity depends on whether or not the participant signed a waiver.
Hawaii Statutes § 663-1.54 says that the skydiving company is not liable for injuries resulting from the inherent risks of the activity if the participant voluntarily signs a release/waiver. To be a valid waiver, the following must be true:
- The waiver must provide full disclosure of the risks associated with the activity
- The operator must take reasonable steps to make sure a participant is physically able to undertake the activity
- Harm must have resulted from an inherent risk of the activity. The trier of fact decides if the risk is inherent. The law defines an inherent risk as something a reasonable person understands is associated with the activity. It exists despite reasonable care.
- Injury may not be the result of negligence, gross negligence or a wanton act or omission by the skydiving company
If all these things are true, the waiver is valid and the company is not liable for damages. Generally, the same principles of negligence apply to skydiving companies that apply in Hawaii’s general personal injury law. The skydiving company may be liable when their actions or inaction results in an injury.
Other parties that may have legal liability
In addition to the skydiving operator, another company that manufactures the equipment used for the jump, the airplane, or a motor vehicle may be liable if their product results in harm. They may be liable under a product liability theory. Additional third parties may also have legal fault.
Our lawyers can help you investigate the causes of your skydiving accident. We will pursue all avenues for compensation.
Hawaii Skydiving Accident FAQs
Can I sue for a skydiving accident?
You can sue for a skydiving accident if the accident results from negligence or other misconduct by the skydiving company, equipment manufacturer or other party. If they have legal fault based on an act or omission, and you are injured as a result, you may have a claim for damages.
Are skydiving companies liable?
Skydiving companies are responsible to exercise reasonable care and caution in all aspects of their operation. That includes instructing you in how to participate safely, ensuring that their equipment is in working order and conducting their operations with safety in mind.
When they fail in these tasks, and an injury occurs, they may be liable to pay damages including medical bills, lost income, ancillary expenses and pain and suffering.
Who may receive compensation for a skydiving accident in Hawaii?
An injured victim may receive compensation for a skydiving accident in Hawaii. Generally, if the injury is serious enough to seek medical treatment, the victim may have a valid claim for damages. If an injury results in wrongful death, surviving family members may bring a claim for compensation.
Are non-residents treated differently?
No. You have the same rights and remedies available to you whether you are a resident or non-resident of Hawaii.
How do I get compensation for a skydiving accident?
To get compensation for a skydiving accident, you must prove liability and bring a legal claim. Typically, filing in a court of law is required, but our lawyers can assist you with the exact process to use.
Our lawyers can handle everything including investigating, determining the value of your case, gathering evidence and pursuing your legal rights.
Lawyers for Skydiving Accidents in Hawaii
Has a skydiving accident impacted your family? Recovery Law Center can help. We represent victims and families who were harmed by skydiving in Hawaii. We are proud to represent tourists and visitors to our area.
Recovery Law Center is a team of experienced legal professionals assisting individuals and families in claims that matter to them personally.
Contact us for a free consultation and start your case today. Call or message us to begin.