Yes they do

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on April 14, 2004 at 09:19:44:

In Reply to: waivers do not protect dive operators posted by Chris on April 13, 2004 at 19:03:03:

From the article: "Release waivers signed by people who participate in high-risk activities do not bar their relatives from filing wrongful death lawsuits, a state appellate court has ruled."

There's nothing new about this. Perhaps Chris Menjou or Steve Lang (or any other attorney) could comment more fully but you need to understand the distinction between being sued, and what the outcome of the suit is.

It's true (and has long been tauight by both every cert agency to it's professional-level members) that a waiver does NOT prevent someone (inlcuidng heris) from suing. But what a waiver does do is allow a judge (assuming the waiver is properly exectuted) to dismiss the suit based on "assumption of risk" clauses that are found in most waivers.

I work with and am in contact with both PADI and NAUI on things like this and the notion that they (or more correctly their insurance underwriters) are losing suits and paying out huge sums of money is simply wrong.

Also wrong is the notion that waivers won't protect you. They do. They're very powerful legal instruments and both the shops/charterers/boats that use them as well as the divers that sign them should have a full understanding of the legal agreement they're entering into.

Ken Kurtis
NAUI Instr. #5936
Co-owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.
Beverly Hills, CA

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