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Extreme Sports: Who is Liable for Injuries?

As winter snow pelts much of the East Coast and South, it is unavoidable that thousands of people will consider subsequently taking a weekend trip to enjoy the fresh snow and various extreme sports. Winter extreme sports include skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snow skating, ice climbing, and even skydiving, all of which can pose a danger to its participants. Extreme sports carry a higher risk of injury and death, especially when the participants are inexperienced or when negligence is involved. It is imperative that you take care when engaging in extreme sports, and contact an attorney if you have been injured.

Who is Responsible for Extreme Sports Injuries?

Athletes who participate in extreme sports should know that by participating they are risking injury or death. In other words, they have assumed the risk by virtue of participating. However, sponsors of extreme sporting events still must refrain from negligent acts that increase the chances of injury or the inherent risks of the sport– for example, failing to provide for water stations at a race on a hot day.

What if There is a Waiver?

Virtually all sponsors of extreme sports will have you sign a waiver of liability that is intended to contractually release them for any liability for injury/death. This is the first line of defense for event organizers. However, waivers do not apply in the event of a defendant’s negligent behavior or breach of duty. Defendants still have a duty to refrain from intentional or reckless behavior. Failure to do so opens up the courts to a plaintiff seeking damages.

Additionally, waivers tend not to adequately disclose all the dangers of a sport or event. Participants are aware of the challenges they are signing up for (the inherent risks), but they may be less clear on the undisclosed dangers, which may not be considered an inherent risk.

What is Binding Arbitration?

Most waivers also contain a binding arbitration clause. They are non-negotiable, and come as part of the waiver. Arbitration agreements require all persons who sign to settle their disputes in front of a third-party arbitrator instead of going to court. Unlike the regular court system, binding arbitration does not provide for an appeal. Rather, the arbitrator simply hears the evidence and grants an award with an explanation, called the arbitration decision.

Call a Tennessee Sports Injury and Personal Injury Attorney Today

At the office of Calhoun Law, PLC, we are well versed in both personal injury law and civil litigation principles. Whether you signed a waiver or a binding arbitration agreement, we will look through everything in your case carefully to give you the best legal options and maximize your recovery. If you have been injured in a sporting event, contact our office today for a free and private consultation.

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