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Skydiver's death may be case of not taking every precaution

A veteran of more than 1,000 skydiving jumps died over the weekend in San Diego. The owner of the skydiving company where the man worked says the man might be alive today if he had not opted to make his last jump without the benefit of a computer chip device that would have opened his parachute automatically in an emergency.

At this point, an emergency appears to be exactly what this 27-year-old man suffered. Officials are still investigating, but the owner of the skydiving company says the victim was jumping with a group and, at one point, he collided with another jumper. The owner says the man may have suffered a brain injury that rendered him unconscious.

The company owner says that his operation prides itself on the attention it pays to safety and the proper maintenance of equipment in that regard. He indicates that anyone with fewer than 1,000 jumps is required to have an auto-deploy chip on their chute and that the victim in this instance usually had one in place. But he says it was undergoing maintenance yesterday, so the man decided to jump without it this time.

No one else was hurt in the incident.

A key point the owner sought to make in the wake of the tragedy is that there are many precautions we take to reduce our risk of being injured. Cars have seat belts and air bags to help protect us on the road. But he says there is always risk and all the anticipation in the world can't prevent someone from crossing over the yellow line and causing a crash.

He has a point. But in cases of apparent negligence or recklessness, there are legal avenues available that victims may wish to tap to obtain compensation for their suffering and to hold the responsible party accountable. An attorney's help should be sought in such instances.

Source: KNSD-TV, "Missing Chip May Have Saved Skydiver in Fatal Fall," R. Stickney, Andie Adams and Matt Rascon, March 31, 2014 

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