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Legal Question About Waivers(20 posts)

Legal Question About WaiversKristin
May 24, 2001 9:45 AM
You know the ones that we sign at just about every sponsored sporting event? They state that, in the unfortunate event that you should encounter bodily harm, that you will not hold the sponsor responsible. I've heard that these don't really protect the organization. Is this true? Also, I'm sure they don't negate any negligence of the sponsor. For instance: You ride with a club where you signed a waiver. The club gathers and decides to ride despite a chance of severe weather. Additionally, no "ride at your own risk" disclaimer is made at the beginning of the ride. If, during the course of the ride, someone falls, gets struck by lightening, is sucked into a vortex or pumbulted by air born bovine, does that waiver protect the sponsor? Sorry if this is a little over-the-top, and not entirely related to cycling. I didn't have anything better to think about last Tuesday while pedaling through a torrential down pour. Well, other than inventing a camera mount for my handlbars. A flying bovine would be a great capture for my photo album.
Flying bovine!?!?4bykn
May 24, 2001 9:59 AM
I used to see those back in the 70's.

Regarding your waiver question: after my unfortunate incident a year and a half ago, my attorney said these are fairly standard and effective in protecting the organization (heretofore referred to as the party in the first part) from almost any foreseeable accident to the rider (heretofore referred to as the party in the second part).
Riding in the rain??? I thought you knew better ;)

Back to the aviating livestock, I seem to remember that the day after seeing these I would feel pretty lousy. Hmmmmm, I wonder if there's a connection.
Cincinnati has a Flying Pig...PaulCL
May 24, 2001 12:29 PM
...marathon each year. Not a cow, but a stinky aviating farm animal ought to fit the bill. And to see this flying farm animal you wouldn't have to deal with the hangover the next day (your reference to "feeling lousy"). There are ugly winged pigs all over downtown Cincinnati. Now that I think about it...wouldn't you want to riot if your home was covered with winged pigs??????
Cincinnati has a Flying Pig...4bykn
May 24, 2001 12:56 PM
So do pig wings and cow wings taste anything like Buffalo wings?

I guess people in Cincinnati dont worry about getting bird crap on their freshly cleaned cars, there's worse critters up in the skies!
Everything tastes like chickenPaulCL
May 24, 2001 1:31 PM
And birds poops are nothing til your cars' been hit by flying pigpoop!
I was on a bike "trip"...what kind were you on??Kristin
May 24, 2001 3:56 PM
LOL – Perhaps we were both on a "trip" but I have a feeling yours was fun. Mine was induced, in part, by hypothermia.

Many strange thoughts visited me as I rode through the rain. I pictured Dorothy and her little dog too. Then reminisced about Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton in Twister. Next, I mulled over the possible mishaps that one could face should they find themselves riding beneath a rotating, low level, HP Supercell. I spent several moments determining how I might transform the DB into a storm chaser--complete with portable doppler radar. Finally, as I pulled into the church (soaked to the skin and about 50 lbs. Heavier), I pondered the legality of waivers. Welcome to my world! :-)

Believe it or not, I was concerned about my church not being protected from a law suit. I'd never sue anyone. Like someone said, too much trouble...and stress. That's why I carry good insurance.
I was on a bike "trip"...what kind were you on??4bykn
May 25, 2001 8:49 AM
Just a little teen-aged chemical induced fun.

Chasing storms might be fun, but being chased is a whole different story...

Regarding lawsuits:a necessary evil at times. Imagine being unable to work for 4 1/2 months, still gotta make mortgages, car loans and pay all the other bills, not to mention medical expenses. All this on account of some one letting their dog run loose. I was fortunate to have very good insurance, if not I'd probably have had to file bankruptcy. The down side...I got a $100,000 settlement of which only about $34,000 went to me. Not claiming that I deserve more, but I'd gladly give every penny and more to have my body back to its previous level. Do I sound bitter? I suppose I am.
And there you have it, my rant for the day.
waving my waiverrunstevierun
May 24, 2001 10:03 AM
I think the waivers generally DO protect the event coordinators and the sponsors from getting sued when forseeable accidents happen to participants. Road Racers DO crash. Century rides Do encounter all kinds of weather. It's up to the individual to assess these conditions and to make up their own mind isn't it? That being said, you generally can't waive what you can't know. (Like the risk that the lunch stop sandwiches have salmonella, etc...) That's more like a negligence claim, unless it's specificaly enumerated in the waiver you retain your rights to do whatever.
Quick! Get Doug Sloan!peloton
May 24, 2001 10:16 AM
Flying Bovine? wow...
State laws vary, although I believe that the general rule is,bill
May 24, 2001 10:21 AM
including in Virginia, where I actually have researched the issue, is that the waiver is not enforceable as a contract waiver. That is, you cannot contract away your right to sue someone for that someone's negligence resulting in personal injury. You don't possess that right by contract, you possess it through the general duty of others to avoid exposing you to unreasonable risk of harm, and you can't contract it away.
What the waiver does accomplish for the organization is to let the participant know that the activity entails certain risks, that the organizer has not made itself an insurer of your safety, and that, by participating, the participant is assuming certain risks of harm unrelated to the organizer's negligence. The negligence standard then to be applied is the "reasonable organizer" standard, which is a better place for the organizer than the "insuring against all risks organizer" standard. Then, when you are struck by lightning or you hit a pothole, which are all foreseeable risks, the organization can say, hey, you knew that we weren't protecting you from these sorts of foreseeable risks. If, though, the organizer fails to, for example, have water at stops where they said they would, or if the organizer's cue sheet sends you onto a four-lane highway with no shoulder, or if you are flattened by a SAG vehicle, you still can sue.
Some thoughts on common lawBob A
May 24, 2001 11:04 AM
I think bill hit the nail on the head. Negligence can never be waived through contract. A genuine contract requires consideration from both parties; that is, something of value must be exchanged. Ex. You buy a car and pay money - seller gives up car, you give up money. A waiver to sue is nothing more than an acknowledgment that risks are involved and the participant is aware of the risks. Before everyone blasts the lawyers and turns this string into a soapbox, remember that if event organizers did not have waivers in place, injured cyclists would be beating paths to the courthouse and as result, there would be no organized events.
Sorry, Bill is correct not MJSidley
May 24, 2001 11:12 AM
Shows you what a good lawyer I am. I meant to say Bill (and Bob A) is correct.
MJ is correct,Sidley
May 24, 2001 11:09 AM
Well stated (counselor?). MJ is right. Waivers are not enforceable but, as stated by MJ, serve as evidence that the participant has been advised of potential dangers.

Forseeability is a jury question is my jurisdiction and there is no telling what juries will deem forseeable but a flying cow is would probably qualify. Unforseeable harm is not recoverable.

In common law jurisdictions, most particants of dangerous activities will be deemed to have "assumed the risk" associated with that activity. Translated, you can't win against the softball league when you take a liner in the eye.

In short, waivers are useless. Coincidentally that applies to waivers in bike shop maintenance agreements, dry cleaners, parking garages. Anytime you see, "Not responsible for lost or stolen property," the opposite is generally true.
Would that flying bovine be Rose of Abalone? The barren cow?128
May 24, 2001 12:01 PM
ahh first year contracts....
been trying to find that funny poem some harvard students wrote about Rose.
Simple AnswerDCP
May 24, 2001 2:56 PM
The answer to your question is really quite simple. In some situations the waiver is likely to be effective and in others it will not. The types of situations will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. So your approach should be that you must assume the waiver is vaild when it is presented to you and you will have no recourse against the sponser if something happens. If you sign and something actually happens, then ask a lawyer to determine whether the waiver is effective under the actual circumstances.
I think the lawyers have already spokensidley
May 24, 2001 4:02 PM
The simple answer is exactly the opposite of what is stated above. Waivers are generally not enforceable. I think several of the above posters, who actually are lawyers, already made that fairly clear.

I was absent the day we learned the poem about the flying cow. What is that? I remember the donkey in the road and that damn mill but no cow.
You don't get itDCP
May 25, 2001 6:12 AM
Whether the waiver is valid or whether it is invalid but raises the standard for recovery to a higher level makes little difference. The waiver will make recovery for negligence of the sponsor less likely. If you cannot afford the to cover the costs of injury, e.g. you don't have health insurance, think carefully about the activity.

There are also some protections for liability for injuries caused by participants in sports. An action which might be recover civilly in other contexts will not necessarily be recoverable when you are racing.

I believe my analysis is correct.
Rose of Abalone,for the priciple that a mutual mistake of128
May 25, 2001 8:10 AM
material fact is needed to recind, or void ab initio, a contract. The farmer sold a barren cow to buyer for $x but some time later the cow was found to be pregnant, farmer wanted it back or more money or something. But the contract had been "performed", not so if there is a mutual mistake of material fact, never a meeting of the minds. Then you get the next case regarding the value of an imitation painting, where the VALUE of the item was mistaken, and value was not enough to void the deal, whereas pregnant cows are.
Then there was some Rose of Abalone poem the Prof. read...da.da.da...
Rose of Abalone,for the priciple that a mutual mistake ofSidley
May 25, 2001 11:42 AM
Replevin for a barren cow! Now I remember. I looked around for the poem and can't find it either. Thanks for the jump start. I could have used you when this stuff mattered.
Hey, never to late to return a cow...128
May 25, 2001 2:34 PM