An experienced pilot from Hawaii and a 12 year old child were both killed in a recent hang gliding accident, according to reports. The accident took place in a dry lake bed south of Las Vegas when John Kelly Harrison, 55, of Kamuela, Hawaii, crashed along with Arys Morehead, 11. The Wills Wing Tandem Hang Glider was tethered to a tow vehicle at the time, and the rope, which was designed to disconnect from the truck, failed to disengage, causing the glider to nose dive.
The pilot had the highest rating possible for a hang gliding instructor and had been flying more than 30 years. The FAA was notified but the investigation will be conducted by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police.
Fatal Sporting Accidents and Liability Waivers
Many sports that are considered extreme or dangerous require participants to sign a waiver in order to participate. When accidents happen, victims may believe that these waivers bar them from suing for damages. In many cases, this is not true; in fact, some victims are able to recover large amounts of compensation, even after signing a waiver of liability.
What, then, does the waiver do? In one sense, it is a psychological trick to make people believe that they cannot collect damages when they suffer injuries while participating in extreme sports and other activities. However, there is some legal value to the waiver as well. By putting participants on notice and requiring their signatures, event coordinators are able to show, if an accident does happen, that the participant was aware of the risks.
However, if the company that organizes the event, the instructor or someone else closely involved with the sport fails to take reasonable precautions to prevent injury to the participants, the waiver may not have any effect on the participant’s legal rights. It is one thing to acknowledge that you understand an activity may be be risky; it is another to be put directly in harm’s way by the actions of another person.
Furthermore, if the equipment involved in the activity is defective in its design or manufacture, the company that made it may also be liable.
If you have been injured while participating in any type of sporting activity, contact the law firm of Bernstein & Poisson in Las Vegas for help. We can assist you in collecting damages whenever possible for injuries sustained in any type of accident.