Hang-gliding is one of the most dangerous sports that people take part in. According to the National Transportation Safety Bureau, in 2010 there were 32 accidents, resulting in seven fatalities. The very nature of the accident, given that it takes place at high elevations, is what makes it so risky. If you or a loved one has been in a hang-gliding accident, contact us for a free consultation to see if you may be entitled to compensation.
What kinds of accidents and injuries can occur?
Hang-gliding accidents could end in disaster in many ways. One way is by pilot error or pilot inexperience. The pilot is often in charge of another person to direct them safely throughout the ride. But, they may incorrectly strap their safety harness so they are unable to direct the hang-glider, they may miscalculate the proper timing and positioning of landing and more. Also, the pilot may simply be inexperienced or unqualified to be directing the hang-glider. The U.S. Hang-Gliding and Paragliding Association regulates hang-gliding, and a pilot must have the proper licensing and be a member in order to partake in piloting a ride. If they are not a member, they are likely unqualified and put anyone with which they ride, or themselves, in grave danger of a crash or fall. Another accident is due to flying over forbidden areas. There are certain areas that are suitable for hang-gliding for safety reasons, and the pilot or business must make sure that they are permitted to fly over it. Otherwise, there could be obstructions in the sky, such as trees or buildings, or foggy skies which put the hang-gliders at risk. Also, the hang-glider may be defective and malfunction mid-flight, in which case, a crash is highly likely. All of these accidents can result in injuries such as broken bones or fractures, concussions, traumatic brain injury, neck and back injuries, spinal cord injury, and death.
Who is liable?
Negligence is the basis of these types of accident lawsuits. Negligence occurs when one party breaches the duty of care that they owe to others and injuries directly resulting from the accident. If the pilot makes an error, is inexperienced and unqualified, or flies over forbidden areas, the pilot and/or their business is likely liable for the accident for putting the passenger at risk. If there is an equipment defect, then the manufacturer of the hang-glider can be liable under product liability laws since they released a product that poses a great danger to its users. It is best to speak with an attorney who can help you to determine who was acting negligently at the time.
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