Re: Buddy Leaves Diver - Who Died: Legal Suit?

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Posted by CalDiver on September 08, 2000 at 12:53:59:

In Reply to: Re: Buddy Leaves Diver - Who Died: Legal Suit? posted by Ken Kurtis on September 08, 2000 at 00:59:35:

Yes, I've heard about this case in Florida and I'll check it out too to see if I can provide more info. I didn't think the case was JUST about liability for not helping a distressed buddy, but I'm not certain at all.

Right you all are as to the assumption of the risk argument -- that's the first and best line of defense to such suits. We all know the sport CAN be dangerous, and even if you D everything R, there's no absolute guarantee that this won't be the time that you get bent or eaten or (insert other misfortune here). Buuuut, when you dive, do you assume the risk that your buddy will bail on you, or will take action in direct contravention to his training, which then injures you (whether directly or through your actions to save him)?

The problem is not just whether there is a "buddy contract"; rather, the law implies duties between individuals, such as acting as a reasonably prudent diver would, not endangering others, etc., which were never explicitly contracted for.

So, what duty does a buddy owe another, exactly?

Some of the concern by those who follow dive law is that PADI's "Statement of Safe Diving Practices" (or other programs' equivalents) which students must sign in training creates admissions against the signing diver's interest as to (a) obligations he is undertaking or (b) practices which a reasonably prudent diver would follow. If the diver then deviates from those stated practices, and the diver's buddy is injured, therein lies the bait for the plaintiffs' bar to try to draw a causal connection.

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