Swiss Federal Court: tour organizer not liable for paraglider accident

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

The plaintiff who had had successfully completed his paragliding education in 2001,  in 2002 booked a paragliding package to Italy with defendant. After some flights with a paraglider classified as being of "good-natured" flight characteristics, he changed to a more demanding paraglider classified for experienced pilots. At the second attempt with this other paraglider, it collapsed at one side which led into a crash in which the plaintiff was severely injured. The plaintiff sued the tour organizer claiming the latter had overestimated his paragliding skills, he had not been properly intsructed how to handle the glider and the staff had failed to support him by radio.

In its judgement of Jan. 22, 2014, the Swiss Federal Court (Bundesgericht) referred to the findings of the lower instances according to which a onesided collapse was a prevalent risk at paragliding which every pilot must be able to deal with. Furthermore it was highly unlikely that a support by radio could have avoided the crash. Thus,  even if all the plaintiff's allgations were true, the alledged failures had not caused the crash. Although the contract had to be qualified as a package travel contract providing for unlimited liability of the tour organizer in the case of personal injury, in the absence of a causal failure the tour organizer was not liable for the accident.

Full text of Swiss Federal Court Judgement 4A_420/2013 of Jan. 22, 2014 available in German here>>

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