SDI/TDI gave its annual presentation on Risk Management for Dive Facilities and their Professional Staff yesterday afternoon.
Internationally reknowned Dive Litigation Specialist Rick Lesser kicked off the program with an introduction of the speakers and the Divelaw Year in Review. He cited a few interesting cases, including a few whose verdicts were upheld in appellate court.
Peter Meyer, Senior Vice President of Willis Insurance, which provides coverage for 30% of the dive industry worldwide, followed with a "Top Ten" list of the reasons why dive facilities and their staff are often faced with lawsuits.
Punctuated with humor, Meyer’s presentation was nonetheless informative and enlightening. He indicated that injury and fatality statistics are often understated by training organizations. As an example, ninety fatalities were reported to and studied by Divers Alert Network for the previous year, whereas Meyer personally dealt with more than 200 claims involving fatalities.
Bret Gilliam, founder of SDI/TDI and technical diving legend, concluded the session with a presentation on risk management in the real world. In addition to emphasizing good judgement and following standards, Gilliam stressed the importance of liability releases and medical statement forms. In states that are "waiver friendly" summary dismissals are often possible when proper paperwork is executed and retained.