Scuba diving is considered by some to be an extreme sport. One which requires training and precision. Many divers rely extensively on their scuba diving gear to help them make certain critical decisions. Air intake monitors, diving hoses and other scuba equipment must work properly. Any defect can expose the diver to critical injuries. When divers are under hundreds of feet of water, equipment failure can be the difference between life and death. To have even the slightest malfunction in your equipment can lead to a host of respiratory, neurological and other health conditions. In certain unfortunate situations it can lead to death. If you or your loved one has been injured in a scuba diving accident, contact our offices for a case evaluation.
My Scuba Diving Gear Was Defective, Who Is Liable?
Liability for malfunctioning scuba diving equipment can be placed on a number of parties. Generally, with any defective product you can hold any commercial seller of the equipment responsible. In certain situations, the rental agency will also be held liable, if they failed to inspect the equipment before renting it out. A product can be defective when it fails to conform and meet its designated performance obligations. There are a number of recognized defects which include design defects, manufacturing defects and failure to warn defects.
What Parts of the Scuba Diving Equipment Could Have a Design Defect?
Design defects can affect every aspect of the scuba diving equipment that is used to go deep underwater for dives. This equipment is bought new or used by the owner of the dive company, and needs to be continually serviced and reviewed on a regular rotating maintenance schedule. The equipment also has manufacturers recommended reviews for equipment maintenance, and these schedules for review also need to be followed, to keep the equipment as safe and possible for the divers.
Scuba Equipment Prone to Defects from Manufacturer or from Second-Hand Purchasing
Scuba equipment can be bought new or used from a variety of sources. Used scuba equipment can be bought from a rental shop, from a private seller, or from any other resource either online or locally to your region. When you buy scuba equipment new, many parts offer a lifetime warranty on some of the pieces. This is especially useful for scuba equipment parts that require regular service, such as with regulators. But when you buy scuba equipment that is used or second hand, all warranties are void on that equipment. That is because there is no telling how it was used, abused or mishandled by the prior owner of the scuba equipment.
Scuba Equipment Defects Can Be Fatal
If there is a known or unknown defect in the scuba equipment that you bought second-hand, you will have an action against who you bought it from, or from the rental shop where you rented the equipment. If you bought the scuba equipment second-hand while on vacation, or in a different country, or online “from a friend of a friend, who knew a guy, who moved to the islands, and moved back stateside, who used to own a scuba shop,” then you will need to try to go back to the owner of the scuba equipment, to find out who to bring an action against at that point.
Scuba equipment is your only source of life support when you are diving. If there are defects in any aspect of the equipment, the results can be fatal. You are relying solely and only on the integrity and safety of the scuba equipment that you choose to use, when you are diving deep into an ocean, river or lake.
Common Defective Areas of Scuba Diving Equipment
The following are some common areas of scuba diving equipment that can harbor defects. These defects include areas of the:
- SCUBA cylinders and valves
- Diving masks and helmets
- Air storage vessels
- Air filtration systems
- Dry suits
- Caps over the valves
- Weak air bladders
- Straps and connectors
- Bladder ribbing
- Torn linings in wetsuit pockets
- Oral inflator defect
- Vest does not inflate properly
- Release valves defective
- Buoyancy Control Devices (BCD) that are worn, faded from chlorine in water
- Damaged Neoprene on wetsuit
It is critical to inspect the scuba diving equipment per the manufacturer’s instructions and time schedule. This will ensure that the scuba equipment is in top form, and will keep you safe on all of your underwater dives.
If you have purchased new scuba diving equipment, then you will want to go back to the manufacturer to bring an action for a design defect of the product. Any type of design defect is dangerous, and will affect the safety of your dive if you use the defective materials depending on them as working well and perfect for the purpose of diving.
What Do I Do If I Find a Design Defect in My Scuba Equipment?
Design defects are material defects with the product. They include an inherent design flaw which is applicable to all makes and models. This can include air hose issue, air tank issues, air monitoring defects and other part or design related defects. Manufacturing defects are defects that occur at the time of manufacturing. This can be during the manufacturing or assembly process. It can be the result of a human or machine error. Unlike design defects, manufacturing defects are not applicable to all products. Failure to warn defects apply when the manufacturer fails to warn of dangers not anticipated by consumers. This can include a defective air gauge monitor. Consumers are not privy to information regarding these issues and thus can hold the manufacturer responsible for injuries sustained. If you have been injured from scuba diving equipment, just contact us today for a free case evaluation.
What If I Signed a Waiver?
Often times consumer sign waivers. What do these waivers really mean? Does it allow the operator to commit acts negligently and contract themselves out of potential liability? Absolutely not! You are not permitted to contract out your duties. If the operator was grossly negligent then they will be held liable for injuries sustained. What is gross negligence? The general definition of negligence is a deviation from what a reasonably prudent person in the same situation would do. This standard as applied to a scuba diving operator would be, what would a reasonably prudent scuba diving operator or equipment rental company do? In order for the negligence to be “gross” it must be a wanton deviation from this standard. Failure to inspect equipment prior to renting them out would be grossly negligent activity. Thus, the mere fact that a waiver was signed does not mean you are not permitted to pursue a claim for damages. You are permitted to enforce your legal rights and should not be intimated by a waiver.
Bringing A Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A wrongful death lawsuit is brought by those surviving the deceased. If your loved one perished, you can bring a cause of action for the wrongful death or untimely death of that person. California law permits certain parties from bringing a cause of action. In certain situations parents, children and the spouse are permitted to bring an appropriate cause of action of injuries sustained. In order to know whether you qualify for this type of claim, we need to evaluate the loss and the relationship between the parties. If you do qualify you can recover for loss of services, income and compassion provided by that now deceased party.