When you take part in any activity that could pose a physical risk, like a sporting competition or events such as the newly popular extreme assault courses, you will most probably sign a waiver. These waivers record that you accept that there is a risk of you being injured while taking part. But does that absolve all blame from the organiser?
Spartan races are fast becoming one of the mot popular extreme race events in the world
All event organisers, including sports and team building obstacle race holders, will be required to have insurance and be expected to have made precautions for any accidents that could happen. This usually includes arranging for first aiders to be present and ensuring that there is suitable access for emergency services, as well as ensuring the venue is appropriate and that participants are prepared and aware of any risks. This insurance is necessary as,, although participants suffering minor scrapes, bruises or even minor breaks are covered under the waiver; negligence of any form is not and should it occur, it would leave the event organiser liable.
The now worldwide giant, Tough Mudder, has come under criticism for injuries caused since it’s inception in 2010. With runners electrocuted by 10,000 volt cables and sustaining some brutal punishment over the courses, some have suggested that a lack of care has been taken with the obstacle design. With some events seeing deaths, paralysis and major injuries in recent years, the question of negligence has lingered for some time.
The same idea of waivers not covering negligent actions applies to sports too. Many sports have governing bodies which issue insurance to members covering injury during training sessions and competition; with additional insurance available for instructors. However, liability waivers do not cover acts of negligence on behalf of coaches, referees or other participants. Should another competitor intentionally injure you or a referee fails to act within their duty of care to all participants, then those actions fall outside of a waiver and give a person the right to claim compensation.
A waiver is designed to fulfil the legal requirement that the participant in an activity is aware of the potential risk and is still willing to participate. Although some waivers may mention complete absolution from liability, this isn’t actually a true statement.
Legally if a company, organiser or governing body of an event have done all within their power to oversee the safety of participants, then injury cannot bring forth a personal injury claim. However, if those same authorities have in fact been negligent in their preparation and allowed for slips in safety procedures, then a claim can be made.
Sincere Law has represented both athletes and race participants in the past for these situations. The challenge for the solicitor of an injured individual is to prove the accident was the fault of negligence.
While not an easy process, it can be determined, with some investigation by a solicitor, as to whether the waiver signed covers the accident or not. Looking into previous injuries using the apparatus, the health and wellbeing of the person involved and the situation surrounding the incident all come into play.
While we would never discourage anybody from participating in a sport that has injury risks or completing an obstacle race with risky sections, Sincere Law would always advise being in the best possible condition to safely compete/complete a course and also be aware of the proper rules and procedures for participation.
With some research suggesting an average of 1.72 people being taken to hospital per 1,000 entrants for extreme obstacle races, you need to be sure you can safely complete them as well as having fun doing so.
If you have been involved in a sporting event or an obstacle race and have suffered a serious injury, then do not hesitate to get in touch with Sincere Law. We operate on a No Win No Fee basis and, after an initial no hassle call, we can ascertain whether you have a potential claim. We also offer a £250 recommend a friend scheme in which you can earn £250 for recommending Sincere Law to a friend. Our lines are open from 9am until 8pm daily so get in touch today!