There are now more than 1,000 ziplines in use in the United States. Along with the industry growth, accidents and litigation and accidents have also grown. People have been seriously hurt or killed on ziplines. Unfortunately, most ziplines are not to built to standards and the zip line construction companies, the ziplines know this, the inspectors know this.
Inspectors are not often named in the lawsuit. The inspectors have a single but serious job to do. They must ensure the zipline is compliant with (a) state and federal laws where applicable, and most importantly (b) the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) standards. About 80%-90% of ziplines do not comply with the national or state standards. That is an incredible number…80% of ziplines DO NOT comply with ACCT or ASTM standards.
Why is that? That is because the ACCT, the organization that works with states to implement standards has a couple of flaws. One is that they do not require an inspection by an outside source. The person who built the course often also serves as the inspector. This has been the root cause of many deaths and serious injuries. The builder/inspectors may not often know that they have made a mistake. Or in some cases they ignore a small problem and pass the zipline course anyway.
It takes several months to build a zipline course. Many times the builder/inspector is a friend of the zipline owner or has become a friend of the owner during the construction phase. This sometimes results in the builder/inspector being pressured by the owner to certify the course.
In any case, if you are hurt on a zipline, you should be awarded your due compensation. If the inspector is not named in the lawsuit, then the main person responsible is not even being sued. When on cross-examination, the zipline company will often say “Our inspection passed. That’s all we know.” How can you blame them? Their inspector may have certified the course without adequate brakes, training, gear, or clearances. These items are all clearly explained in the challenge course and zipline standards manual.
A zipline needs to be inspected by someone who knows the ACCT standards. A proper inspection will reveal any deficiencies. An inspection based on the standards offer proof that no jury can deny!
If you are hurt on a zipline, then you should get what you deserve. Be sure to include the builder, the inspector, the zipline, the property owner, and the zipline owner. You will be surprised how often the inspector is found to be 100% responsible. Personally, I am surprised at how often I have been consulted for a case where the zipline inspector is not named as a cause of liability.