$5 million dollar questions????

A discussion restricted to the topic of hang gliding.
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Davis
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Re: $5 million dollar questions????

Post by Davis »

Looks like they worked it out and Jackson Hole Resort is going to be insured for $5 million.
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Martin
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Re: $5 million dollar questions????

Post by Martin »

In 1972, if a kid wandered onto your property and asked to use your pasture to "go flying" you might have said "hell yah" can I watch? Now you post your land and keep a lawyer on retainer.

Insurance is "snake oil" with the insurance companies doing what ever they want. This year its 5mil, next its 10mil. We are just like drug user hooked on our "crack" and our dealers (the insurance industry) will holds us hostage. Its not just the insurers that play this game, its the bureaucracies that mandate its use. They tag team us with their unregulated demands.

I was recently interviewed by a popular pod caster and one of the questions that was asked was "do you think the explosion of the sport in the 70's could have taken place in todays litigious society"? I suspect given our paranoia regarding liabilities I suspect not.

I don't have the answer. I've heard the European model tends to protect recreational sports and access but the North American society has gone down a much different path. To fix this problem I believe the change needed is out of reach for the US and hanging by a thread in Canada. Perhaps free flight, sport aviation will come to end with only VR goggles and computer generated experiences will be the only freedom within reach of the average person that wants to "go flying"

Martin Henry
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Davis
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Re: $5 million dollar questions????

Post by Davis »

"Perhaps free flight, sport aviation will come to end with only VR goggles and computer generated experiences will be the only freedom within reach of the average person that wants to "go flying" ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... ...............The Matrix solution.
TBrown
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Re: $5 million dollar questions????

Post by TBrown »

HI Martin, in most states there is a law which indemnifies landowners who allow recreation on their property against lawsuits from recreational users.
An example, Colorado Recreational Use Statute, §33-41 "The purpose of this article is to encourage owners of land within rural areas to make land and water areas available for recreational purposes by limiting their liability toward persons entering thereon for such purposes."

But this doesn't protect landowners against damage recreationists do to their property. So, 'replace your divot', if only that was the sole potential damage, understandable that landowners with improvements on their land want insurance.
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Davis
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Re: $5 million dollar questions????

Post by Davis »

These laws do not protect land owners from having to hire attorneys to show the courts that they are protected by these laws. $50,000 later and the land owners are in the right again, but poorer for it.
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Re: $5 million dollar questions????

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In Northern Colorado, a number of years ago, there was a dairy farmer who had an ultralight field on his property that he allowed us to aerotow from. One weekend, an ultralight pilot had a serious crash, on landing, that severely damaged both of his legs. Doctors thought, initially, that they would have to amputate one or both of his legs. After a lot of surgeries, and rehab, he was able to walk again.

Not too long after that, United Healthcare (the pilot’s medical insurance provider) filed suit against the farmer to recover the cost of treating the pilot. They did this knowing the farmer had terminal cancer, because they were his insurer as well. I’m guessing that they were hoping he would settle, rather than try to fight it, given his medical condition. He tried to reason with them, by citing the Colorado statute quoted by TBrown, but they wouldn’t budge. Many thousands of dollars later, he prevailed in court but he died not long after that. It wasn’t too long, after his passing, that his family closed down access to the field.

The reality is that statutes, like Colorado’s, are the same as patents. They are only as good as your willingness to defend them in court. The state won’t go to court to defend you. You can get the case thrown out, but it is going to cost you a lot of money to have it done.
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Davis
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Re: $5 million dollar questions????

Post by Davis »

So many people do not understand this simple truth. If you want to defend your rights, get a lawyer and pay the costs.
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Andrew Vanis
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Re: $5 million dollar questions????

Post by Andrew Vanis »

Yeah, that is the dilemma... Costs to be on the right side of the law.

IIRC, UK has looser pays winner's attorney fees. If that is actually the case, I wonder if that helps 1) in situations like this and 2) cuts down on annoyance suing thinking people will just settle
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Re: $5 million dollar questions????

Post by TBrown »

Colorado's 'loser pays' section of that law:
§33-41-105.5. Prevailing party - attorney fees and costs.
The prevailing party in any civil action by a recreational user for damages against a landowner who allows the use of the landowner's property for public recreational purposes shall recover the costs of the action together with reasonable attorney fees as determined by the court

Ya, I suspect actual attorney fees could be higher than 'reasonable' fees. Certainly not iron clad protection for landowners.
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