New Mexico lawmaker wants to protect skydiving companies from lawsuits

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SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a popular tourist activity in New Mexico, and it’s inherently dangerous. Now, a state lawmaker wants to protect skydiving companies from lawsuits.

This bill comes from a lawmaker who’s never been skydiving — and never plans to — but she represents an area of the state where skydiving is quite popular.

“It’s a risk getting in the plane, flying in the plane. Of course, jumping out of a perfectly good airplane and then landing, also,” Rep. Gail Armstrong said.

Freshman Republican Rep. Gail Armstrong’s district covers parts of Socorro, Catron and Valencia Counties.

One of the biggest skydiving hubs in the state is located in Belen.

Rep. Armstrong’s bill would require skydivers to sign a warning that they understand the inherent risks of jumping out of an airplane. This limits potential injury lawsuits.

KRQE News 13 spoke with Kendrick Dane, the lawyer who crafted the bill. He’s also an avid skydiver.

“All this does is take what the skydiving industry already does in private waivers and moves it to the statutory level, which provides the courts with greater guidance when these cases proceed through the courts,” Dane said.

But Dane said the bill also protects the skydiver by requiring drop zone carriers to have at least $100,000 in insurance.

If passed, Dane expects the law to strengthen New Mexico’s skydiving industry. He said other industries, like horseback riding and skiing, have similar laws.

Skydivers would still be able to sue companies if their negligence leads to an injury or death.

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