Bungee jumping, the extreme sport that many say produces an adrenaline
rush like no other, is popular in many of the world's most exotic
places - including Hawaii. However, while many U.S. states and other countries
have strict laws pertaining to bungee jumping, Hawaii does not. So, how
lack of law in the Aloha state affect
What Hawaii Law Does Require
Hawaii’s Department of Labor &Industrial Relations Division of
Occupational Safety & Health requires bungee jumping operators to
obtain a permit once every year and have their equipment inspected for
safety. However, aside from some restrictions about bungee jumping off
of bridges in Zone 5 of the National Forest, that's about it. In fact,
helmets are not required by state law either, although many bungee jumping
operators require their use for liability purposes.
Bungee jumpers who are injured may face some challenges in recovering for
their injuries - especially since state law on the sport is lacking. While
operators will generally have some form of liability insurance, it's
more likely that bungee jumpers will have to sign a waiver saying that
they understand that what they're about to do is dangerous and that
they "assume the risk" of doing so.
Assumption ofthe Risk: What It
"Assumption of the risk" is a legal term that is a defense in
tort law. It basically says that the person engaging in an inherently
dangerous activity assumes the risk and cannot later hold the defendant
(in this case, the bungee jumping operator) liable for any injuries sustained.
Unless the equipment broke, didn't fit properly, the operator let you
jump in bad weather or in an unreasonably dangerous area, recovery can
be an issue. That being said, it is not impossible, and operators can
be held liable for unsafe practices - despite signed waivers that might
say differently. Contacting an experienced personal injury attorney is
the only way to find out whether you might have a cause of action.
Is Bungee Jumping Safe?
The answer to that is likely who you ask, as there is very little statistical
data available. However, according an article published on
Livestrong.com, bungee jumpers should consider these four things when deciding on whether
to take the leap:
Health. Anyone who suffers from certain medical conditions, such as high or low
blood pressure, back problems, asthma, circulatory diseases, heart problems
or head injuries, should get a doctors' clearance beforehand.
Location. Where you jump should be clear of debris and suspended objects and high
enough that you can still clear the ground safely - regardless of whether
the company uses an air bag or webbing device to catch jumpers.
Equipment. Make sure that the equipment used by the company is safe and, like in
Hawaii, is subject to safety testing.
Professional Support. There isn't an official organization that oversees bungee jumping
safety procedures, so do a bit of research beforehand to make sure that
the company you choose is reputable and has a good safety record.
However, one thing is for sure, thousands of people engage in the sport
all over the world every year and reports of injury are rare. In fact,
many bungee jumping enthusiasts say that you're more likely to get
injured driving than you are bungee jumping. Whatever the case may be,
it's important to be safe, choose a reputable bungee jumping operator
and seek the medical and legal help you need if you are injured.