An attempt to divert criminal prosecution or is there something to gluing cameras on helmets weakening the helmet.

An attempt to divert criminal prosecution or is there something to gluing cameras on helmets weakening the helmet.

Remember Europe has a different system of enforcement of laws to keep people safe than the US. Where we would sue, Europe regulates and if you violate the regulation you are criminally charged.

The article states that the head injuries to Michael Schumacher the famous race car driver might have been caused by his camera changing the effectiveness of his helmet.

Investigators are exploring the theory that Michael Schumacher’s helmet camera could have caused the helmet to shatter, leading to serious head injuries

Schumacher, an experienced skier, was travelling at a moderate speed when he fell and hit a rock. His skis were new; his bindings have been subsequently tested and were not at fault; he was fully in control of his movements as he left the marked pistes and traversed the patch of snow in-between two groomed runs in Meribel.

But now investigators believe that they may have found a reason for the seriousness of the crash. They think that his helmet camera could have actually worsened the blown, and caused the helmet to shatter into pieces.

Experts from ENSA, the world-renowned ski and climbing academy in the French ski resort of Chamonix, have conducted tests to determine whether the presence of a solid object between a helmet colliding with a rock would weaken the structure.

The helmet smashed – but the camera he had attached to it, in order to record him and his son skiing, was undamaged. The footage, audio and visual, has provided police with crucial information about the crash.

“The helmet completely broke. It was in at least two parts. ENSA analysed the piece of the helmet to check the material, and all was OK,” said a source close to the investigation.

“But why did it explode on impact? Here the camera comes into question. The laboratory has been testing to see if the camera weakened the structure.”

The following, however, maybe the real reason for the statements.

Lawyers had argued that managers of the ski resort might face up to three years in prison because the dangers lurking within the off-piste section were not properly marked.

Off-piste, usually meaning out of bounds or off trail here sections of the ski area where Mr. Schumacher fell might not have met the necessary requirements.

Do Something

Think. Although it is not outside the realm of possibility, it is hard to determine why a camera mounted on a helmet would affect the helmet’s performance. On top of that, ski helmets are designed to break. In fact most helmets only are effective once they break.

Believe me, as you know helmets are a real issue in my opinion. But to blame the injury on the helmet or the camera I think is just a way to dodge a criminal charge or change public opinion about the incident.

SeeMichael Schumacher skiing crash: did helmet camera cause head injuries?

To further understand the difference between the US and Europe see:

Another Litigation versus Criminal example

Criminal Charges brought against Everest Guide in the UK

Death of young climber leads to criminal charges in Italy

Forgetting your beacon is manslaughter in Europe….if you wife dies in an Avalanche

Litigation v. Jail Time

The legal relationship created between manufactures and US consumers

 

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Death of young climber leads to criminal charges in Italy

Lawsuit versus criminal charges; US v. Europe

Tito Traversa died in July of this year. He was a very talented promising climber who had already lead 5.14’s. His death allegedly occurred because instead of his quick draws being correctly attached to carabiners, the webbing was attached to the rubber “bands” used to keep the slings from moving on the carabiner. Those bands have a low breaking strength, if any at all. When Tito fell he fell 40 meters (120 feet) to his death.

To read an article on how the quickdraws were incorrectly set up see The Quickdraws that Led to the Death of Tito Traversa.

Here in the US there might be a lawsuit over the issue; however, criminal charges would not be filed unless there was criminal scienter. Scienter is a criminal intent to do something or known as the “criminal mind.”

Just another example of the different ways legally the US and Europe, as well as most other countries are different.

See Manslaughter Charges Filed after Tito’s Accident

For articles about his death see: 12-Year-Old Tito Traversa Dies From Climbing Fall or Superstar Preteen Climber Dies After Fall

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Forgetting your beacon is manslaughter in Europe….if you wife dies in an Avalanche

Verdict confuses everyone

In what many are calling a crazy decision, a man has been found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to three months of prison, suspended for allowing his wife to ski without an avalanche beacon.

Both were experienced skiers, he more than her. He triggered a slab avalanche which buried he.

The slide occurred on a 35° slope the risk was given as Considerable (3/5). The lack of beacon seriously delayed finding the victim even when rescue services arrived on the scene. The 58 year old woman had suffered from serious head injuries after being buried over a meter in dense snow.


Because the woman was not wearing a beacon the rescue took a considerable amount of time.
The deicison has left many people very confused in Austria. 

Michael Larcher, director of education of the Austrian Alpine Association has questioned the verdict. He points out that although the woman was less experienced than her husband they had been touring together for years, “she was no beginner but had enough personal knowledge to know to turn on her beacon. Given that the lack of beacon was the main reason for the verdict, in my opinion, you cannot put all the responsibility on the husband, it is an issue of personal responsibility”

Estolf Müller, representing the Austrian Mountain Rescue Service said that “judging who is experienced is legally very difficult, I’m really sceptical when the courts intervene in a private sport so long as innocent bystanders are not endangered. When you go into the backcountry everyone has to be responsible for themselves.”

So?

The man in this case may also be facing a civil suit by the family on top of losing his wife. Personally, I think this is a little extreme. However it points out the differences between the United States and Europe.

Most European countries are based on a criminal system to enforce the standards of care. If you do not take care of someone you face jail time.

In the US we rely on a civil litigation system. If you do not take care of someone you face a lawsuit. Only in extreme cases where your actions are so bad or intentional can you face losing your freedom in the US. I show it visually this way.

The Red Column is the amount of proof needed to convict in a Criminal Case. The Blue Column is the amount of proof needed to win a civil case.

clip_image002

The US is based on a system that personal freedom is important and society, not the government should decide when someone has injured another. In Europe, the government is in charge of deciding the wrongs and rights of all of society.

For articles about this see Another Litigation versus Criminal example and Litigation v. Jail Time.
To see the article go to 3 months suspended sentence for forgetting beacon

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Another Litigation versus Criminal example

I’ve all ready commented about this issue length in Litigation v. Jail Time; however this article caught my eye. At the very bottom it

English: Jet skis at Downhill. A bit of action...

Image via Wikipedia

mentions another boating accident. The owner of the jet skis who rented the jet skis was fined £450 for renting the jet skis.

Again another example of how in the US we sue, in Europe they charge criminally. Although in this case a £450 fine is probably much easier to deal with than protracted litigation, it still is a criminal charge that will be on someone’s record for life.

However the basic issue is who is going to take responsibility for dealing with problems. In Europe the government deals with the liability between two people. In the US, most of the time the victim is in charge of his life and any money someone may owe him.

See: Brit held after death of Cypriot diver

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Litigation v. Jail Time

Many times I hear the argument that we need to adopt the European legal system. The belief is that the Europeans don’t sue, make it very hard to sue and that is a better system for defendants. That is correct; however the European system also has a little twist we don’t have in the US: Jail Time.

In Europe the requirements to start a lawsuit are very high and the types of things you can sue over are limited. However the requirements to be arrested and charged with a crime are low, are much broader and the level of proof to convict someone are much lower. Example of this is playing out in the US and France this week.

On July 25, 2000 a Concorde jet crashed in France killing all on board. On July 3, 2008 Continental Airlines and two Continental employees were charged in a French court with manslaughter. The crash was attributed to a piece of a Continental jet falling off as the jet was taking off. That piece of metal was run over by the Concorde jet causing a tire to blow out and the parts going into the engine causing the crash.

Here in the US, Continental might be sued for this type of thing. Maybe money would be exchanged, maybe. No crime would be charged because there was no scienter or “criminal mind.” No one was attempting or thinking about a crime, there was no criminal intent.

That is not required in Europe or France, where by the way you are guilty until proven innocent to some extent.

In most European countries there is a very different way of approaching problems. There the government is in charge of making the public safe. In realty, in our “Laissez-faire” business environment most businesses are kept in line by the threat of litigation. In Europe businesses are kept in line by the government who puts you in jail if you are not doing a good job, if you fall out of line.

For information on the charges against continental airlines see: Airline to be tried for Concorde crash and French court to try US airline over Concorde crash.

Laissez-faire by the way is a French term.

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