Skydiving is a popular pastime in many areas of the United States. Unlike some types of sporting activities, training prior to the first dive is considered a must. Even with proper training, the potential for an accident to occur is present.
It's common for divers to sign waivers before participating in a dive. Even so, waivers may or may not preclude the ability to file and pursue a claim. Should you be injured while skydiving, the best thing to do is see a skydiving accident attorney and find out what can be done.
How Popular is Skydiving in the United States?
Skydiving has been around for more than a century, with the first recorded dive taking place in Ohio in 1919. Today, many enthusiasts are members of the United States Parachute Association. The current membership is composed of 39,412 association members; that figure includes divers as well as instructors.
Data provided by the Association indicates that the total number of jumps or dives made in 2021 came to 3.57 million. That would include seasoned USPA members, skydiving first-time students, and instructors who jump along with their students.
In terms of safety, skydiving is generally considered safe. This tracks back to two key elements that come into play before an individual is allowed to skydive: instruction by a professional and a thorough knowledge of how the equipment works.
Before anyone is allowed to make a jump, instructors walk students through the process, including what's to be done at each stage of the jump. The goal is to make students aware of what they will need to do, when to do it, and how to make use of secondary measures if an issue arises. Instructors often accompany students on their first few jumps.
The other element has to do with the proper equipment. Today's parachutes are more advanced than in decades past, and include additional safety features. That includes the presence of a backup parachute. Simulations at ground level are common when it comes to helping students get familiar with the equipment and how to use it.
Exploring the Risks Involved With Skydiving
So is skydiving safe, given the emphasis on professional instruction and the simulated use of the equipment? It's fair to say that those efforts make skydiving safer than it would be otherwise. In fact, the majority of jumps are successful and do not involve injuries.
Even so, there are risks involved. Even the best equipment may fail for some reason. There's also the possibility of sustaining an injury at the time of landing. While in the air, there's some potential for an injury to occur while in freefall, especially if the individual is jumping as part of a group.
The Primary Cause of Skydiving Accidents
So what is the cause of most skydiving accidents? There's no doubt that some sort of parachute malfunction is the primary reason for accidents. A malfunction can create issues at any time during the jump.
A parachute that takes longer than usual to deploy increases the potential for an accident. It can also maximize the potential for not having time to get into the right form for a landing, since the descent is not slowed within a reasonable amount of time.
There is a secondary cause that contributes to skydiving accidents: human error. Misjudging when to deploy the parachute or failing to bend the legs before landing can lead to an injury.
What's the Most Common Injury Resulting From Skydiving?
The single most common injury that occurs during skydiving has to do with the ankles. When preparing for a landing, it's essential to bend the knees so that the impact is not absorbed by the feet and lower legs. Failing to do that can mean ending up with broken or sprained ankles.
The second most likely injury has to do with the parachute not deploying at the correct time. That translates to landing harder than you would do otherwise. Depending on the nature of the impact, there could be other injuries besides the ankles, such as to the hands, arms, pelvis, and thighs. Should the parachute fail to deploy at all, death upon impact is highly likely.
Mortality Rates: How Many People Die From Skydiving Per Year?
So how many people die skydiving a year? You may be surprised to learn that the mortality rate for skydiving accidents is relatively low. In fact, it can be said that you have a better chance of dying as the result of an auto accident, or some sort of accident in the home.
Information provided by the United States Parachute Association indicates there's been a total of 486 deaths from skydiving from 2000 to 2021. On average, this comes to 22 deaths per year. The actual figure per year is lessening, with statistics for 2021 indicating that 10 deaths related to skydiving occurred.
The lowest incidence of death is found among those who engage in tandem skydiving. This involves two people being strapped together so they jump at the same time; it's not unusual for one of the parties to be a professional instructor. The average number of tandem skydiving deaths is one per 500,000 jumps.
Do You Have Legal Recourse in the Event of an Accident or Death?
Instructors routinely have students sign waivers prior to making jumps. This leads many people to assume that there is nothing to be done if they are injured during a jump, or if a loved one dies as the result of a jump. Depending on the circumstances, they may be right.
However, the presence of a waiver doesn't rule out the possibility of having grounds for a claim. Rather than making any assumptions, it's a good idea to seek legal advice; after looking over the waiver and considering the events leading to the injury or death, a lawyer may identify valid reasons for taking legal action.
The most practical course of action is to contact Linden Law and arrange to speak with a lawyer who can assess the situation and determine if legal action is feasible. If you've been injured or if a loved one died due to something that happened during a jump, contact Linden Law today. You will soon have the answers that you seek.