When the helicopter Kobe Bryant and other families were flying in went down, so did the company that owned and operated the helicopter.
From both a business owner's perspective and legal perspective, this tragedy could have been avoided if 1) the employer had implemented some sort of checks-and-balances system to keep their employee from taking out a helicopter when the conditions were not appropriate to be flying in, 2) the employer spent some of the company's profits on advanced technology that likely could have made the pilot aware of the terrain, and 3) the employer spent money on different helicopters and pilot training to make it possible to fly when there is a lack of visibility.
As a consequence, lives were taken. As soon as that happened, the lawsuits came rolling in.
Not only is the helicopter company owner likely at fault, to add insult to injury, the owner likely did not have enough insurance coverage to cover his liabilities to all the families affected.
In the end, though, the low insurance coverage likely won't matter anyway because insurance companies don't tend to cover an at-fault, negligent injury accidents like this one when it's pretty clear that the owner is at-fault due to not keeping his employee from flying that day.
What lessons can be gleaned from this terrible incident to help you as business owners?
1) Stay in control of your equipment and when it is used,
2) Have practices in place to ensure employees aren't allowed to run amok without supervision, and
3) Don't be cheap with safety equipment, training, and insurance!
Just because this happened to a helicopter company, these lessons are equally applicable to:
Contractors whose employees use tools that can harm themselves or others,
Companies with delivery drivers whose vehicles, and
Any other businesses where the misuses of business equipment can affect life or limb.