Scuba Diving Lawsuit in 2024 - A Complete Guide
Scuba diving is one of the most mesmerizing ways to explore the underwater world of marine animals. Unfortunately, the fun and seemingly harmless activities can also lead to life-threatening situations, including death. Were you injured in a scuba diving accident? If yes, you can file a scuba diving lawsuit to get compensation for your injuries and losses. You could sue the scuba diving company if your accident was caused by the negligence of the scuba diving company or its instructor. You could also sue the scuba equipment manufacturer if a defect in the equipment caused your injury. Either of these two actions will help you recover damages and be compensated for the pain and suffering incurred or the death of a loved one.
Cases where you can recover damages from a scuba diving company
You can seek compensation from a scuba diving company if your scuba diving accident attorney can prove that the company failed to exercise due care or was negligent. However, note that scuba diving companies cannot be held liable for all the injuries occurring underwater or while scuba diving. This is because scuba divers assume some form of risk when they go diving.
Nonetheless, you and your trusted scuba accident lawyer can prove that there was negligence when the scuba diving company did the following:
Before each dive, the company’s dive operator or instructor has the duty to analyze whether it is safe to dive based on the weather and water conditions. The company may be held liable for all the damages if the unsafe water or weather conditions result in a diver’s injury.
A scuba diving company must hire trained instructors or, at the very least, properly train its instructors so that the latter can give safety instructions to divers. Therefore, a company can be held responsible for your injury if it did not provide proper instructions before the dive.
A diving company needs to exercise due care in inspecting and maintaining its diving equipment to reduce the risk of scuba diving accidents. If the scuba diving company provided you with poorly maintained equipment that led to your injury, then they can be held liable.
Who can be held liable in a scuba diving lawsuit?
Several parties may be held liable for your injuries, depending on the circumstances of the scuba diving accident. Parties who could be liable due to scuba diving negligence include:
- Breathing gas suppliers.
- Diving instructors.
- Dive operators.
- Equipment designers.
- Equipment lessors.
- Reckless vessel operators.
Other potentially liable parties in scuba diving accidents
As previously mentioned, the scuba diving company may not be the only potentially liable party for your injuries. Here are some of the other at-fault parties:
If you were struck by a boat operated by a negligent boater while scuba diving, you can recover damages from the boat company or operator.
If your scuba diving accident was caused by defective scuba diving equipment, you can pursue a scuba diving lawsuit against the manufacturer.
Since scuba diving usually occurs in groups, other divers can be held responsible for your injuries when their carelessness, negligence, or recklessness caused the accident.
Most common instances of scuba diving negligence
It pays to be aware of the most common causes of scuba diving accidents so you can avoid them.
If you are underwater and your equipment suddenly malfunctions or the oxygen tank stops working, then you are out of luck. This could give rise to a negligence suit against the company from which you rented the equipment. Alternatively, it could mean a product liability suit against the company that created the equipment.
Under products liability law, the court investigates the actions, omissions, and conduct of a party that manufactured or marketed the product. Here, the victim needs to illustrate that the manufacturer, distributor, or seller failed to act reasonably in the design, testing, distribution, labeling, assembly, or manufacture of a product. As a result, this failure was the cause of the victim’s harm. Furthermore, those who put a product into the stream of commerce ensure that it is safe, no matter where it ends up.
Diving agencies have standards and procedures so that the divers don’t get hurt on their watch. These agencies have standardized training to reduce both the number of injuries and their liability. In addition, a dive shop or charter company will be found legally at fault if it fails to provide the legally agreed-upon services and that specific failure was the cause of the victim’s injuries.
The agencies write clear contracts to establish these relationships so that the burden is on the victim to prove that the agency or charter company acted in such a way that they violated their standard of care. It’s best to speak with a scuba diving accident attorney who can review this contract in case the agency raises it as a defense.
A boat must be properly maintained to engage in dives and navigate to and from the dive site. In addition, it needs to be equipped with a fathometer, medical equipment, maritime communications devices, and emergency oxygen.
It should also have a coast guard-approved crew and a divemaster ready to supervise the dive and administer medical care if needed. Without these, a negligence suit can open up against the operator of the vessel and the diving organizer.
If your teacher doesn’t provide proper instruction and you end up injured or dead because of a scuba diving accident.
It also opens the door for employer liability under the doctrine called respondeat superior. This means that if an employee is negligent in the scope of their employment and messes up on company time, the employer is generally responsible. It likely means more for the victim in the way of recovering damages.
It is also up to a diving instructor to determine whether a swimmer is medically fit to dive. If someone isn’t (for instance, if the swimmer were severely asthmatic and had an attack underwater far away from a rescue inhaler), that instructor should withhold certification, as that swimmer is not proficient to handle the challenges of scuba diving. Any harm that came to the swimmer would fall back onto the instructor.
If two divers go out together, they naturally assume a legal relationship. For instance, the one with more experience takes responsibility for the less-experienced diver (or the instructor for the student, if this were with a school). Furthermore, if the more experienced of the two acts in a way or fails to act in a way that causes harm to the other diver, like taking him somewhere he could not possibly dive because he didn’t have the experience, like a deep cave, or refusing to share oxygen, these could be grounds for negligence.
The problem with many scuba diving agencies is that they are profit-motivated. This means that they try to appeal to as many people as possible, regardless of whether they should be diving. This has led to the creation of “no certification scuba adventures” or “fun dives,” which tout a quick and easy jaunt under the water for everyone! This could be dangerous because the fun diver might not even be fit for the experience.
Can I file a scuba diving lawsuit claim?
To determine whether you can file a scuba diving lawsuit after a scuba diving accident or not, you will need to figure out whether someone had a legal duty to keep you safe and whether that party failed to do so.
Every scuba diving accident is different. Therefore, the best way to assess your legal options following your accident is to contact a scuba diving accident attorney as soon as possible.
Ethen Ostroff Law has a strong reputation for teaming up with the best in the legal industry and fighting hard for our clients. If you need assistance regarding your scuba diving lawsuit, contact us at 610-510-8883. We will help you get maximum compensation to cover for the pain, suffering, and trauma you experienced.