Articles Posted in Recreational accident

boating accidentsBoating accidents are numerically much less common than car crashes, but the “typical” boating accident can result in much more significant injuries than the “typical” car crash. Obviously, most people involved in car crashes will be using seat belts and/or shoulder harness, and in most cars will have the benefit of air bags and other modern safety equipment. In a boating accident, about the most that can be hoped for in terms of safety equipment is that victims will be wearing life jackets that may save them from drowning if they’re ejected from the boat.

A recent example was a boating accident on the Sacramento River near Red Bluff that resulted in injuries to seven people, three of whom had to be taken to a hospital, one of those with significant head injuries who was transported first by ambulance and then by helicopter to a trauma center. Other injuries included a broken arm and hip for the man who was driving the boat. The accident apparently happened when the boat crossed the large wake of another boat, causing the driver to lose control and crash into a bridge piling where Interstate-5 crosses the river.

boating accidentsOther factors leading to boating accidents include inexperienced operators — many boat owners will allow people to operate their boats whom they would never allow to operate their cars. And even experienced boat owners will have far less time at the tiller than experienced car owners have behind the wheel. Alcohol is also a significant factor in many major boating accidents due to its common presence during recreational boating. While operating a boat when intoxicated is certainly illegal in California — with potentially very significant penalties — there just isn’t the same level of law enforcement screening and observation on the waterways as there is on the roadways.

Many of us engage in recreational activities and sports that expose us to the slight but not inconsequential risk of getting hurt while involved in the activity. We may join an adult softball league or enroll our kids in school sports. The adrenaline junkies among us may choose skydiving or mountain climbing. And every year, a certain number of people get injured — sometimes seriously — as a result. When this happens, is someone legally liable for those injuries?

assumption of risk
Answering this question will often involve a legal concept called “assumption of risk,” which can be broken down into two categories: primary assumption of risk and secondary assumption of risk. The question in primary assumption of the risk is whether there was any duty at all owed to the injured person to protect that person from risks inherent in the activity. If there was a duty owed, then secondary assumption of the risk addresses whether the injured person voluntarily chose to ignore the additional risk posed to them by a breach of this duty.

The manner in which the injured party “assumed” the risk can be further classified as “express,” where for example a waiver has been signed that includes specific acknowledgement of the activity’s risks and agreement not to pursue claims for injuries, or as “implied,” as in the case of a skydiver jumping out of a perfectly good airplane — an activity with some obvious risk involved, whether that was described in detail to participants in detail or not.

mudUnless you have been hiding under a rock, you have probably heard of  “mud runs” and obstacle course-style running events – but did you know about the required waiver?

Maybe as a reaction to the digital and sedentary lifestyles of many, a record number of Americans are signing up and participating in events that allow you to climb rope ladders, swim or wade through frigid waters, crawl through mud pits and even run through fire.  Sound exciting?  Sound dangerous?  It can be quite dangerous.  As well organized as these races are, there have been a large number of injuries at these events.

Of course when someone is injured as a result of such an activity, often the injured party looks to pursue financial compensation from the entity responsible for that activity.  In fact, they may think it’s a “no-brainer” that because the injuries occurred during such a dangerous event – one that includes an obstacle course that  may have been poorly planned, supervised or maintained – the organizers would be responsible for the injuries.  However, it isn’t such an open and shut case.  In all recreational events of these types, mud runs or even in a simple 5 kilometer road race without obstacles, participation requires signature of a waiver of liability.

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