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Manslaughter charges in the death of climber Tito Traversa
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By bearbreeder
Aug 27, 2013

GabeO wrote:
Can anyone confirm that this was really the setup used in the Tito case? Are you people who are arguing that the manufacturer should bear responsibility all in agreement that this was how the draw was set up? If so, you're nuts. You may as well say the manufacturer should be responsible if you wrap the rope around your neck rather than through your harness. The manufacturer should not be held responsible for clear and obvious misuse of their equipment. And if the draw was set up as bearbreeder posted, that's exactly what it was. GO



from 8a.nu ...



This is the quickdraw that the police showed to Tito's father.

www.8a.nu/?IncPage=http%3A//www.8a.nu/articles/ShowArticle.a>>>


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By mark felber
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Aug 27, 2013

That setup has been described on 8a.nu, www.dpm.com and grimper ( www.grimper.com/news-mauvais-montage-degaines-utilisees-tito>>> ) as the setup that killed Tito Traversa. The pictures showing the string on the bolt clipping carabiner are apparently an inaccurate reproduction intending to show the mistake; the picture showing the string on the rope-clipping biner are exactly how the draws were set up. Hard to believe that a competent adult would make a mistake like that unless they were tired or impaired, but the exact same mistake was made in the USFS accident described upthread.


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By GabeO
From Denver, CO
Aug 27, 2013

Got it. And other articles on DPM and elsewhere confirm it. That's complete misuse of equipment, plain and simple.

Tragic, but simple.

GO


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By bearbreeder
Aug 27, 2013

mark felber wrote:
That setup has been described on 8a.nu, www.dpm.com and grimper ( www.grimper.com/news-mauvais-montage-degaines-utilisees-tito>>> ) as the setup that killed Tito Traversa. The pictures showing the string on the bolt clipping carabiner are apparently an inaccurate reproduction intending to show the mistake; the picture showing the string on the rope-clipping biner are exactly how the draws were set up. Hard to believe that a competent adult would make a mistake like that unless they were tired or impaired, but the exact same mistake was made in the USFS accident described upthread.


just as a point to the USFS report ... i posted that for people to read so they can understand who ANYONE can fail checks if they dont know what to look for ...

the big difference between the 2 cases is that the firefighters set up their raps in stressful environment ... a loud shaking moving heli ...

no one realistically should be assembling draws under anything close to such circumstances ... and definitely not 8 of them in a row in error

the other thing that everybody is missing is that FOUR of the draws were assembled correctly ... how can one person assemble 4 draws the right way and another 8 the wrong way? ... and any sane adult not correct them if he/she realizes that they were doing it wrong?

according to the original report the draws were purchased by the mother of a young girl ... IMO the possibility that the young girl herself assembled the draw, or someone who is not a climber at all needs to be considered ... or multiple people assembled the draws

www.grimper.com/news-tito-traversa-plonge-coma-artificiel-ca>>>

ultimately its all speculation until the actual facts slowly come out ...


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By mark felber
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Aug 27, 2013

Would an adult climber have been more likely to spot the mistake as he/she led the climb and clipped the bolts? I suspect that a 12 year old would simply assume that the adult who assembled and/or gave him the draws knew what he/she was doing. Also, would a trad climber be more likely to spot the badly assembled draws as he/she used them than a sport climber? So much of trad climbing involves evaluating gear and placements as you go, and treating fixed gear (pins and bolts) as possibly suspect. I wonder if constantly evaluating gear this way doesn't create a little better awareness of potential hazards.


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By rocknice2
From Montreal, Quebec
Aug 27, 2013
BD ice tool fusion2



If this is THE actual QD then it has some mileage on it.


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By brenta
From Boulder, CO
Aug 27, 2013
Cima Margherita and Cima Tosa in the Dolomiti di Brenta.  October 1977.

A few pieces of information:

  • The trip was organized by the "Bside Climbing School," which appears to be a regualr commercial organization, with a climbing gym, courses, and a team participating in youth competitions.

  • It is not clear from the original article in "La Repubblica" whether the quickdraws were new or just the rings.

  • Tito's father pressed charges in Italy. The prosecutor then had to start an investigation. It is my understanding that if you are being investigated in Italy for certain charges, they have to notify you. If the article is accurate, the manufacturer, seller, organizer, and instructors have been notified, but not charged yet.

  • European law concerning CE certification for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) includes rules about the instructions. I believe quickdraws are class III PPEs, which is the class with the most stringent regulations. While my understanding is that certification affords a certain level of protection from liability suits, it also appears that if a product is shown not to conform, then the protection is gone. It's likely that one goal of the investigation is to ascertain whether the instructions were conforming to the pertinent regulations.

  • However, further search indicated that the rings themselves may not be subject to the same regulations as the quickdraws.


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By GMBurns
Aug 27, 2013
Climbing at Morro Anhangava in Southern Brasil. <br /> <br />(photo by Isa Vellozo)

The Phoenix wrote:
Sorry you think I had trouble with it, I didn't. I was thinking about what kind of person would try to interject themselves in a topic without reading the material or really knowing what they were talking about and how stupid they would look after the fact ;-) Heard that?


I'm well aware of the material. There was nothing that I said that was out of line.

bearbreeder has been saying that this event is similar to the one that happened to the firefighters (he's said that multiple times on this thread and on the rc.com thread). He has stated that this is an event that no one could have discovered in advance (including petzl) because even when four people check gear "blindness" can occur and result in an accident (as what happened with the firefighters). I agree with him that blindness does happen and may very well have happened with Traversa. His example is a good one for "in the moment" circumstances.

However, I disagree with him that Petzl never knew about this possibility. They likely had a very long time to think about possible errors - in fact, I would have a hard time believing it's not a part of their job to find mistakes like this. Them updating their manuals after the accident is irrelevant in my mind. I believe their engineers knew about it but didn't think it would ever happen and thus never included it in the original material.

Not sure where you missed my point, but ^^ that should spell it out for you.


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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Aug 27, 2013

PatCleary wrote:
If we make a product can kind of go together, fail, and injure a customer, we'd (rightfully) be liable. A quick draw that can be assembled without the carabiner going through the dogbone while seeming to be assembled properly is improperly designed.

Pat is correct. I practiced in the products liability field for a couple of years before moving on to other areas of practice. Climbing is understandably a dangerous past time. Manufacturers need to be aware of possible, foreseeable misuses of their product. This idea can be exploited to the nth degree, but certain examples are more evident than others. To use a real example, if you design a chainsaw but place a hole near the handle where a person could accidentally insert their thumb and get it chewed off, you've designed a faulty product. Arguably, the dogbones here could fit within the same category of product.

The policy behind the injured party being able to sue anyone in the chain of commerce is that the courts don't want the injured party to have to invest the difficulty and cost of finding the responsible party. You round them all up and figure out who the liable party is.

BTW, I don't see a manslaughter charge as a sane alternative to 'money grubbing'. It's far force. Money is just that; you're personal freedom and liberty, not to mention the stigma of a criminal conviction, and worth infinitely more.


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By Tom-onator
From This Galaxy
Aug 27, 2013
Tom-onator

Society can point fingers of blame all day long.
What's important here is to raise awareness so this tragedy is never repeated.

Would a blaze orange or brilliant yellow rubber keeper on the draws have made it easier to identify a mis-application?

IMO the black rubber keeper blends in too well for mis-use to be identified correctly.

Condolences to the family


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By bearbreeder
Aug 27, 2013

GMBurns wrote:
bearbreeder has been saying that this event is similar to the one that happened to the firefighters (he's said that multiple times on this thread and on the rc.com thread). He has stated that this is an event that no one could have discovered in advance (including petzl) because even when four people check gear "blindness" can occur and result in an accident (as what happened with the firefighters). I agree with him that blindness does happen and may very well have happened with Traversa. His example is a good one for "in the moment" circumstances. However, I disagree with him that Petzl never knew about this possibility. They likely had a very long time to think about possible errors - in fact, I would have a hard time believing it's not a part of their job to find mistakes like this. Them updating their manuals after the accident is irrelevant in my mind. I believe their engineers knew about it but didn't think it would ever happen and thus never included it in the original material. Not sure where you missed my point, but ^^ that should spell it out for you.


no i am saying that the manufacturer did not REASONABLY believe any SANE person would assemble the draws in that way .... especially 8 of them in a row

NO ONE REASONABLY "foresaw" that any SANE climber would deliberately assemble such the quickdraws in such a way and then climb on them ... if you showed that photo to ANY climber they would be horrified

hell i can clip the elastic band drop seat on my harness for belays or tie into it .... theres a reason why most manufactures dont warn not to do that ... because one doesnt reasonably foresees any SANE climber doing this, it should be self evident

again there has not been an accident with this particular quickdraw failure that we know of in climbing history ... if someone has more cases, please come forward

and btw ... its not petzl gear in the accident


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By SavageMarmot
From Nederland, CO
Aug 27, 2013

IMO the black rubber keeper blends in too well for mis-use to be identified correctly. - tomorectum(us)

WHAT! Use your brain man! That's a bunch of crap that you can't figure out how the thing is put together just because it's not in Gay-Glo fancy colors!


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By mark felber
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Aug 27, 2013

The mis-application is glaringly obvious to me, and I would guess that it would be equally obvious to any adult climber who took reasonably good care of his gear. It's probably not nearly as obvious to a 12 year old or a non-climbing parent (which, AIUI, is who assembled the draws). Better awareness and stricter controls over who handles the kid's gear for youth programs like this one are probably a more effective way to prevent a repeat of this episode.

Regarding the Forest Service accident (and to some extent, this one), would a physical "pull test" on the gear be any more reliable than a visual inspection?


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By bearbreeder
Aug 27, 2013

mark felber wrote:
Would an adult climber have been more likely to spot the mistake as he/she led the climb and clipped the bolts? I suspect that a 12 year old would simply assume that the adult who assembled and/or gave him the draws knew what he/she was doing. Also, would a trad climber be more likely to spot the badly assembled draws as he/she used them than a sport climber? So much of trad climbing involves evaluating gear and placements as you go, and treating fixed gear (pins and bolts) as possibly suspect. I wonder if constantly evaluating gear this way doesn't create a little better awareness of potential hazards.



the danger is in assuming you or i, or anyone else would have spotted it better because of this or that ...

if you dont know what to look for, things are VERY hard to spot

the biggest "benefit" of this sad accident?

- now people know what to look for
- we now know that someone will put together a quickdraw in such a way then proceed to climb on it ... where before no one would reasonably think any sane climber would do

and for those that are really honest

- we know that its damn hard to spot problems when we dont know what to look for

only the arrogant will believe "i would have done better" with absolute certainty ...


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By Tom-onator
From This Galaxy
Aug 28, 2013
Tom-onator

SavageMarmot wrote:
IMO the black rubber keeper blends in too well for mis-use to be identified correctly. - tomorectum(us) WHAT! Use your brain man! That's a bunch of crap that you can't figure out how the thing is put together just because it's not in Gay-Glo fancy colors!

Is resorting to name calling really necessary here?
Someone obviously didn't figure out how the draw should've been assembled and a bright young life was erased as a result.
My observation was meant toward prevention of this type of accident in the future, not to stir up homophobia.
What would you suggest?


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By cjon3s
From Sterling, VA
Aug 28, 2013
Hanging at Seneca

GMBurns wrote:
However, I disagree with him that Petzl never knew about this possibility. They likely had a very long time to think about possible errors - in fact, I would have a hard time believing it's not a part of their job to find mistakes like this. Them updating their manuals after the accident is irrelevant in my mind.


First, since you seem so unclear on it, Petzl is not involved. Please quit blaming their engineers.

Frankly, how the draws got through so many hands assembled like this is beyond me. It's the responsibility of every hand they touched before he climbed on them.

To ruin 5 more lives in a case where guilt is already going to riddle them is horrible. This case is unprecedented and hopefully it will save lives by making people aware.


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Aug 28, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

You can make that silly ass argument about any gear. It "looked right"? Seriously? Well, my bowline "looked right" but my rope failed. Time to sue the manufacturer for MY MISUSE. Well, that cam placement "looked right" but walked and popped when I fell on it. Guess we better sue the manufacturer for MY MISUSE. Well, my harness "looked right" but wasn't doubled back. Hmmm... SUE! The bolt in that roof looked bomber, but pulled right out with just body weight. This list could go on forever. Every piece of gear we use as climbers is easy to fuck up and misuse if you don't know what you're doing and haven't been trained/shown the proper way. I say again: EVERY PIECE. The only exception I can think of is helmets. If you fuck up putting a helmet on and clipping the strap, you most likely need to wear one everywhere you go- after someone shows you how to use it.

It is not the manufacturer's ultimate end to think of every instance where gear can be misused. If that was the case, lawsuits would be rampant, access would suck, and the price of gear, not to mention guiding would be through the roof. Their ultimate end is to make sure the gear will hold falls and behave in the correct and anticipated way when it is NOT misused.

This morning, I got out of the shower and still exhausted from the night before, I plopped on my bed. My remote control became buried in my ass 3/4 of the way up. I'm suing. They should have known that could happen- you know, making the shape of the remote phallic and what not. Ridiculous.


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By GMBurns
Aug 28, 2013
Climbing at Morro Anhangava in Southern Brasil. <br /> <br />(photo by Isa Vellozo)

cjon3s wrote:
First, since you seem so unclear on it, Petzl is not involved. Please quit blaming their engineers. Frankly, how the draws got through so many hands assembled like this is beyond me. It's the responsibility of every hand they touched before he climbed on them. To ruin 5 more lives in a case where guilt is already going to riddle them is horrible. This case is unprecedented and hopefully it will save lives by making people aware.


I never blamed any engineers. In fact, I explicitly said I didn't think it was their fault, nor did / do I think it was their job to explain everything that could go wrong with a product (and I said that, too). I was pretty clear about that.

I just thought it was stupid that anyone could have thought this wasn't a known problem. For me, it's so blatantly obvious that of course the manufacturer could have seen the problem. If they didn't, then they weren't doing their jobs very well.

It's also a mistake so blatantly obvious that it actually happened. Just because it hadn't apparently happened in the past doesn't mean it wasn't known, doesn't mean it wasn't thought of, doesn't mean that it couldn't have happened, etc.

OK, no sane climber would have done this intentionally. Of course not, but no sane climber would also fail to finish his or her knot either, and yet it happens. My point all along is that regardless of whether you think the manufacturer is at fault or if this is complete, utter, senseless misuse of the product, this was not one of the deepest mysteries of humankind and completely unknown. The potential that this could have happened is pretty obvious. Throw in a group of kids and possibly some uneducated adults and...

In my opinion it makes perfect sense for the authorities to get involved. Either you have some sort of unsupervised incompetency that resulted in someone's death or you have something more malicious. When a kid dies as a result of something like this, it simply makes sense to investigate.


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By Dylan B.
Aug 28, 2013
Orgasm Direct, Devil's Lake, 5.11a  c. 2008

In a product liability lawsuit in the U.S., the plaintiff will name everyone under the sun as a defendant at the outset, knowing that discovery and litigation will winnow out the parties who are not liable. One primary reason for naming everyone is investigatory. until you've initiated the lawsuit, and named all possible defendants, you cannot really compel them to permit you to investigate their role in the accident.

In this case, it looks like the responsible party will probably be the person who assembled the quickdraws, and perhaps that person's supervising entity. If the draws were packaged like that from the manufacturer, then the manufacturer will be partially liable. If the guide put them together like that, then the guide and the guiding company will be liable.

Manufacturer warnings and instructions may or may not shield the manufacturer from liability. I suspect that if the manufacturer shipped the draws properly assembled, and there was an instructional warning, then there will be no liability once the litigation shakes out. On the other hand, if they were shipped disassembled, and there were no instructions, then they might have some liability.

Unless the child assembled the quickdraws himself, and the guide had reason to believe the child was experienced and competent, then it seems very likely that the liability will fall squarely on the guide & co. When you send your twelve-year-old to summer camp or on a climbing trip, you expect the supervising adults to make sure the equipment and activities are properly managed.

Another point regarding product liability lawsuits in the U.S. is that ultimately a jury will decide who is liable and for how much (assuming the jurisdiction allows for apportioning liability). If each party is represented by good lawyers, then the jury will be educated on "common practice" and "best practice" in the climbing community, and they will be able to decide if the injured party brought this on himself by failing to do basic safety checks that climbers are expected to do.

Of course, in this case the injured party was 12-years-old, and from my point of view cannot be responsible for his own safety. A supervising adult is always responsible except in the rare circumstance when the child does something the adult could not reasonably be expected to anticipate (e.g. the child disassembled and reassembled the quickdraws while the guide went to take a leak, or some such).


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By The Phoenix
Aug 28, 2013
The Phoenix

GMBurns wrote:
I'm well aware of the material.... He has stated that this is an event that no one could have discovered in advance (including petzl).....However, I disagree with him that Petzl never knew about this possibility. They likely had a very long time to think about possible errors - in fact, I would have a hard time believing it's not a part of their job to find mistakes like this. Them updating their manuals after the accident is irrelevant in my mind. I believe their engineers knew about it but didn't think it would ever happen and thus never included it in the original material. Not sure where you missed my point, but ^^ that should spell it out for you.


Dude WHAT are you smoking??? Can I get some cause it must be some good shit! How many times do people have to tell you the accident has nothing to do with Petzl draws or petzl rubber holders... you CLEARLY aren't aware of the facts.

And your points about petzl are irrelevant because they have designed a rubber holder that cannot be misapplied like these ones so, they have thought about it. Further from that we're talking about a physiological condition that can occur called confirmational bias and blindness which have been well document AND discussed in the articles you HAVEN'T comprehended yet.

Pull your head out of the sand Burns! It's okay to admit ur wrong and actually read the articles...


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Aug 28, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

Tom-osaurus Rex wrote:
Is resorting to name calling really necessary here?


No.

Tom-osaurus Rex wrote:
Someone obviously didn't figure out how the draw should've been assembled and a bright young life was erased as a result.


Someone obviously did. Not all of them were assembled incorrectly. Details as to how or why this occurred are unknown.

Tom-osaurus Rex wrote:
What would you suggest?


First, I would suggest not buying life saving equipment that comes in pieces requiring assembly to save your life. Second, since someone did in fact buy gear that required assembly, I would suggest assembling all of the draws out of the dozen correctly instead of just some of them (this, of course is debatable since facts are not known regarding whether they came assembled or disassembled, with in structions or without, and who did the disassembling or assembling). I would also suggest instructors in a guided group check knots, harnesses, and gear of both belayer and climber before anyone takes off on a route -especially when the consequence is death for not doing so. This is essentially the same as not checking a top rope anchor that kids set up before someone gets on the route. Unacceptable, and not up for debate. With a 3:1 ratio this should be standard practice and not that difficult to accomplish.

I know you were not addressing me specifically Tom, I'm just using your post to respond with what I think are very pertinent points in this case that some people seem to be ignoring. This isn't a slight at you. The death of a kid- any kid, sucks and it's very sobering in a bad and heartbreaking way. That does not mean though, that we should abandon logic and ignore facts- particularly those that have a direct bearing on a prosecution.


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By Jsimpson
Aug 28, 2013

Were the two draws correctly assembled the same kind of draw as the 8 incorrectly assembled ones, or did the climber have 8 new draws assembled incorrectly an two older draws?

This has come up in this post and it seams like some of you are assuming someone got it right 20 percent of the time.

It's all pointless to argue b/c it is the odd Italian judicial system that maleate call.

My two cents for the parents and future parents on this forum: just because your kid climbs harder than you doesn't mean they are more responsible than you. They don't have the same level of objective reasoning as an adult. Parents must watch over their children.


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By ChefMattThaner
From Lakewood, co
Aug 28, 2013
ducking ropes at Copper

Dmb, yes Tito was 12 years old, but that in no way implies that he is not responsible for his personal safety while participating in a deadly sport. He knew the dangers, he knew the proper way to assemble a QuickDraw(open slings included) and ultimately he failed to perform the most basic of safety protocols and inspect your gear before you leave the ground. He made one of many mistakes a climber can make and paid the ultimate price. No one, and I mean NO ONE is responsible for Titos death other then himself. He decided to use that equipment, he decided to climb that route, and he decided that a simple safety check of BORROWED GEAR wasn't worth the time and effort. Stop trying to blame other people for an obvious stupid mistake by a world class climber. It doesn't matter if he used a rubber chicken as his quick draw. He assumes liability by placing that gear and clipping his rope into it.


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By David Sahalie
From on the road again
Aug 28, 2013

chefMatt wrote:
Dmb, yes Tito was 12 years old, but that in no way implies that he is not responsible for his personal safety while participating in a deadly sport. He knew the dangers, he knew the proper way to assemble a QuickDraw(open slings included) and ultimately he failed to perform the most basic of safety protocols and inspect your gear before you leave the ground. He made one of many mistakes a climber can make and paid the ultimate price. No one, and I mean NO ONE is responsible for Titos death other then himself. He decided to use that equipment, he decided to climb that route, and he decided that a simple safety check of BORROWED GEAR wasn't worth the time and effort. Stop trying to blame other people for an obvious stupid mistake by a world class climber. It doesn't matter if he used a rubber chicken as his quick draw. He assumes liability by placing that gear and clipping his rope into it.


He is 12 years old. Would you trust a 12 year old to drive a car? own a gun? vote/ smoke cigarettes? no? Then he is not responsible for his own actions.


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Aug 28, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

I respectfully disagree chef. I work with kids in a climbing capacity, and I have a daughter as well. A 12 year old is capable of checking gear, yes. Should climbing prowess correlate to overall safe practices? One would think so, but this isn't always the case, as Slim pointed out.

I'm wondering; do you have kids? If your 12 year old (or 10 year old, or 14 year old) kid died at a rock gym because their harness wasn't doubled back, and a gym employee was belaying them, would you simply chalk it up to "oh well, my kid should have known better"?

If so, when is the cut off? Are they not responsible for grasping the gravity of their complacence, or even being aware that they are being complacent at say, age 5? 8? 11? At what age would you hold an adult and paid professional (paid to keep kids safe and uninjured from purely preventable accidents) responsible?

If you take your car and pay to get the oil changed, and they don't put the plug back in and your motor seizes up, are you going to blame yourself? I mean, after all, you have a driver's license, it's your car, you know how to drive it, and you're aware that there is a drain plug and that it needs to be installed correctly in order to retain the oil and keep the engine lubricated and running, right? You should have checked it. Blame rests solely on you, right?

Or perhaps does a little bit of it rest on the paid professional who failed to perform his or her paid rendered service correctly, and as a result has left you with a significant loss?


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