Jacksonville Dive School Faces Third Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A now-infamous Jacksonville diving school has been hit with a third wrongful death lawsuit after a third student turned up dead while diving at the school. The diving school has since been shut down, but it is now dancing three wrongful death lawsuits related to deaths that occurred while students were diving. In the latest case, the medical examiner said alcohol was a factor in the student’s death which could complicate the wrongful death lawsuit. However, the school is faulted on multiple counts of negligence and has a history of losing students during training.
The 34-year-old victim was training when he didn’t come back up to the surface. A trainer immediately recognized that something was wrong and called 911. The victim, however, died at the hospital.
Elements of negligence
The dive school is faulted on multiple counts of negligence. These include failing to properly train instructors, failing to maintain the equipment, failing to ensure the equipment was in good working order before giving it to students for use in diving, failing to have communications equipment devices or standby rescue divers, and potentially more.
The dive school would have a duty of care to protect those they were training by ensuring that the equipment was in good working order, properly training instructors, and ensuring that if something did go wrong, there was someone there who could help. In at least three cases, none of that appeared to have happened.
Two other students also died on campus, but those deaths were not strictly related to diving instruction. In one case, a student died by suicide and another student died after a drug overdose. The dive school shut down after its accreditation was pulled. It is now defunct.
Analyzing the defense
The dive school will claim that the alcohol found in the victim’s system was a significant contributing factor to his death. Under the new Florida rules of contributory negligence, a plaintiff must be found to be less than 50% responsible for their own injury in order for the suit to be actionable. If a plaintiff is found to be more than 50% responsible for their own injuries then the lawsuit can be dismissed against the defendant. In this case, it remains unclear what percentage of the blame would be afforded to the plaintiff in this case. However, it does not help their suit that the plaintiff had alcohol in his system at the time of the accident. On the other hand, it’s not a good look for the dive school to allow students to undergo training while under the influence. But the defense will definitely involve allegations that the student was under the influence at the time of his death.
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Gillette Law represents the interests of plaintiffs in wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits. Call our Jacksonville personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and we can begin discussing your allegations immediately.