Operator Negligence Puts Inexperienced North Carolina Divers at High Risk of Injury in Diving Accidents

Two recent scuba diving deaths off the Atlantic Coast in North Carolina within three days of each other by experienced divers has leaders in the diving industry wondering what’s going to come as the U.S. Coast Guard investigates.
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Star News Online reports each diver had more than 1,000 dives or 20 years of experience in ocean diving. So it is a mystery what could have happened to cause their sudden death. Diving enthusiasts and experts in the industry fear that the sport will start being viewed as unsafe. But the reality is it isn’t without risk of injury or an activity that can be taken lightly or participated in without diving knowledge or experience.

Winston-Salem accident attorneys know that several things could potentially go wrong if dive operators or diving companies don’t act responsibly for the safety of their customers and crew. An inexperienced diver can experience inner ear barotrauma, pulmonary barotrauma, decompression sickness or arterial gas embolism to name a few.

Certification agencies don’t always convey the correct number of diver registrations but it is estimated that there are between 2 and 3 million dives annually worldwide. It isn’t against the law for uncertified divers to take a plunge so that also makes it difficult to keep track of the actual number of dives each year with no current tracking system in place.

It is estimated that there are approximately 90 diving fatalities a year in Canada and the U.S. Divers Alert Network (DAN) of America released a 2010 fatalities report which reported there are roughly 16.4 deaths per 100,000 DAN members, meaning divers with diving accident insurance policies. In a relative comparison, the study found there are 13 jogging deaths and 16 motor vehicle deaths per 100,000 individuals annually so the risk of diving accidents is similar to other everyday activities.

The DAN report indicated the most common causes of diving deaths are entrapment, running out of gas in your tank, entanglement, improper use of equipment, rough water, buoyancy control and emergency ascent. Oftentimes more than one of these causes can lead to a diver being involved in an accident.

The risk of accidents leading to death also seem to increase with age and health conditions as 25 percent of diving fatalities are attributed to an underlying medical condition. A diver who is not in good health is at considerable risk of respiratory problems or cardiac arrest during a diving excursion. The average age of DAN members is 45 to 55 years-old and has increased in recent years.

Many enthusiasts choose to dive off the North Carolina coast because there is an abundance of shipwrecks and marine life or they may just be interested in prospering from underwater treasures like sharks’ teeth which can value up to $400 on eBay. No matter what the reason, dive operators and members of the diving industry have a responsibility to make sure divers are certified and have the proper equipment needed to make a dive safely.

The Lee Law Offices, P.A. represent victims and their families involved in dive accidents in North or South Carolina. Call 1-800-887-1965 for a free consultation with an experienced injury lawyer to review the details of your claim.

Additional Resources:
Deaths of two divers off Southeastern N.C. coast a perplexing mystery, by Brian Freskos, Star News Online.

More Blog Entries:
Arterial Gas Embolism a Common Danger in North Carolina Diving Accidents, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, October 17, 2011.

Recurring Incidents in Beaufort Inlet Present a High Risk of Diving Accidents for North Carolina Divers, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, July 9, 2011.

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