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Old 06-14-2006   #31
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 160
As far as requiring a life jacket for tuber:

I'm no lawyer but I have been told (maybe incorrectly) that a lifejacket is required if you're in a boat on any body of water in colorado, but not for tubers. Why require it for a kayaker but not a tuber?

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Old 06-14-2006   #32
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 11
Good points brought up by all. I would like to add that I agree that these dumb#$%@'s bring it on themselves by not using common sense. However we all know that we would try to rescue them. I would just love the advantage of them wearing a pfd to help raise my chances of rescue and survival as well. So, this goes back to mandating the wearing of a pfd on the river. They have already established they have poor judgement......yada yada yada and the banter goes on

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Old 06-14-2006   #33
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 108
Originally Posted by CUkayakGirl
My question is this: If she would have let go of the rope, somehow got stuck in the hole below and died. Could her parents sue us or even if she didn’t die, could she sue us? People have told me that it has happened many times in emergency situations that the person doing the saving has ended up getting f***ed later on. Are we protected under any law for attempting to save these people?
First off, nothing can prevent someone from suing you, the real question is whether such a suit has a chance.

The Good Sam law has been posted. Basically, what it does is raise the bar from mere negligence to gross negligence. The common law doesn't include a duty to rescue. However, once you undertake a rescue, under the common law you could be held liable if you perform that rescue negligently. The good sam law just changes the common law rule, making you liable only if you were grossly negligent.

What those 2 terms mean has been litigated to death, and it's impossible to define. Basically, ask yourself this: would a reasonable person consider your actions negligent? Would they consider them grossly negligent?

I suspect that if you did your best and didn't do anything exceedingly stupid you might be negligent, but not grossly negligent. If instead you tried to perform open heart surgery, that might be grossly negligent.
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Old 06-14-2006   #34
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 130
I saw a good description for the negilent part....

... as the responder acted as a rational person of the same level of training would have under the same circumstances.
Which sounds reasonable.
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Old 06-14-2006   #35
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Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1999
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A few points:

I agree and I am all for river side signs educating people on why they should use life jackets. That way they can make their own informed personal choice.

I would never stand by and watch anyone drown, but you can if you want to. In colorado, if you are not being paid as a rescue professional, you are not required to act.

My understanding of the good sam law as it's been explained to me by my EMT and Swift Water instructors is that you cannot be held liable for attempting to rescue someone as long as you attempt it in good faith and are acting under your education. A prime example is performing a trach (where you cut into a person's trachea because they are choking or having an asthma attack and cant breathe). Unless you are a surgeon or one of a few other personal trained to perform said procedure, you will be prosecuted for attempting one. This applies even if you are trying to save their life.

Also, if you attempt to rescue someone and make contact with them (ie strong swimmer rescue), make sure you get them out. Failure to do so could be construed as abandonment and expose you to lawsuit. Abandonment also applies if you have advance medical training and get involved in care. You have the decision to participate in care or not if you are not working. However, once you begin care, you must hand off care to someone with at least as much medical training as yourself. As an example, a doctor who happens to be on scene for a car wreck and participates in care, generally will have to go to the hospital with the patients to avoid abandonment.

I have to say that I'm not 100% sure on all of the details, but this is how I've understood teachings from EMT and SRT professionals.
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Old 06-14-2006   #36
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 108
JCKeck1 and Cheyenne, both good posts. JCKeck1, I only want to amend one thing you said:
Originally Posted by JCKeck1
you cannot be held liable for attempting to rescue someone as long as you attempt it in good faith and are acting under your education.
That is sort of true, but it is important to remember that the Good Sam law does not shield you from liability for gross negligence, which is not really the same thing as "acting under your education". Your info is good, though, I just want to make sure that people know the legal rule.
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Old 06-17-2006   #37
Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 141

I have to strongly disagree with the perceived risk. I don't think most tubers have any idea of the consequences. Requiring a PFD would at least add a layer of though into the process. Regulation is not all bad. Talk to someone who has been in a bad car accident (to use the example above). How many people use seat belts to avoid tickets? Many. Until they've been in an accident and experienced the forces involved, they might never get it. Unless society takes on the role of flawlessly educating the public on all the dangers possible, regulation must fill in the gaps by requiring some safety precautions as a stop-gap measure. Who in the kayaking community has ever been negatively affected by a pfd law? The reality is that the general public sees no difference between kayaking and tubing so when people die the immediate reaction is to close it to all users (as we saw last year...or was it the year before?). It may not hold up in court but its still lost paddling time.
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Old 06-19-2006   #38
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 28
Re: regulations

Originally Posted by MikeG
I have to strongly disagree with the perceived risk.
I disagree with the disagreeal I don't think we should require people to wear helments when riding a motorcycle, seat belts in the car nor PDFs on the river.

The rule is simple: if the only person that gets hurt is you, it is not mandatory to protect yourself. It's different if you endanger others (drunk driving, child seat and so on).

Otherwise some senator is going to decide that you are endangering yourself by base jumping/skiing/kayaking and will ban the whole thing. Everyone's perception of the level of risk is different: you might think kayaking class V is a sane thing to do, someone else likes to ride a bike at 75 mph without a helmet. The only objective way to handle it is to ask: "Will anyone else get hurt when this guy makes a mistake?".

I am in favor of letting natural selection take its course...
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Old 06-19-2006   #39
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 11
I am in agreement with MikeG here. There is a risk to others in this case. We have established that we would more than likely assist those who are using poor judgement. It would be much easier to rescue someone with a pfd on than not. No one is talking about banning a sport here just providing some regulation.

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