Most Waivers Are Adhesion Contracts – So What?

By Doyice Cotten

There is much confusion and misinformation about adhesion contracts as they relate to the enforceability of liability waivers in recreation, fitness, and sport activities. There is a common misconception that adhesion contracts are against public policy and subsequently unenforceable.

What is an Adhesion Contract?

An adhesion contract is a “standardized contract which is imposed and drafted by the party with superior bargaining power and which relegates the subscribing party only the option of signing the contract or rejecting it” (i.e.,

Yikes!! An Injury — Am I Liable?

By Doyice Cotten 

Sport and recreation managers are often confused about their liability in the event of an injury. This is understandable because the law is far from simple. The intent of this post and the included table is to reduce at least some of the confusion.

First, injuries result from one of three causes. The cause of injury may be a simple accident or an “inherent risk” of the activity. In this case the provider usually has no liability providing the injured party was aware of the inherent risks of the activity.

Waiver enforced under Maritime Law in Puerto Rico Jet ski Case

By Doyice Cotten

In the post last week, we looked at a waiver in a Puerto Rico jet ski case (Morgan v. Water Toy Shop, Inc., 2018). The Puerto Rican court examined the case in which the plaintiff was seriously injured in a collision with another party; the plaintiff sued the shop that rented the jet ski to the party who caused the accident. Since the incident occurred in navigable waters, the suit fell under maritime law.

Puerto Rico Jet Ski Waiver Emphasizes the Inherent Risks of the Activity

By Doyice Cotten  

The primary purpose of a liability waiver is to protect the entity from liability for injuries resulting from the negligence of the entity and its employees. A secondary function of the waiver is to help provide protection from liability for injuries resulting from the inherent risks of the activity. Technically, the provider is not usually liable for injuries associated with the inherent risks – provided the injured party was familiar with those inherent risks. The listing of inherent risks in the waiver can provide evidence that the participant was aware of the inherent risks;

Life of Coach Saved with AED

by Doyice Cotten

The Longview News-Journal recently reported on life-saving measures taken by quick-reacting athletes and trainers when the track and field coach collapsed on the field. Once again, quick thinking, coupled with the availability of an AED, resulted in saving a life.

The fact that Longview (Texas) High School had an Automated External Defibrillator readily available (and personnel trained in its use) was the key to avoiding a tragic death. As soon as the coach collapsed,

President Trump Signs Bill Extending Liability Protection to Athletic Trainers and Sports Medicine Professionals

By Doyice Cotten

The National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA) has announced that President Trump (on October 5, 2018) signed the bipartisan Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act (H.R 302/S. 808) into law. This is important because prior to this law, “many states had no legal protection for sports medicine professionals whose jobs often require travel outside of their primary state where they are licensed.” Medical liability insurance carriers did not cover activities performed outside of the professional’s primary state.

What is Learned from the McNair Tragedy at the University of Maryland?

By Doyice Cotten

We have all read about the University of Maryland football player, Jordan McNair, who collapsed in a May football practice and his tragic death about two weeks later. Dr. Rod Walters was hired to investigate the event, the University football program, and the athletic training protocols followed.

In September, Dr. Walters completed his investigation and issued a report. This report presented a timeline of events. This timeline (reported in Athleticbusiness.com) follows:

 

Risk Management Fiasco in Management of California Half Marathon

By Doyice Cotten

Hundreds of running-related events are held each year. They include 5k runs, mile runs, marathons, half marathons, and events that include other activities such as the triathlon. There is risk in all of these, but most promoters take care to manage the risk as well as possible.

In a huge  half marathon/5K run in California involving about 10,000 participants, a runner collapsed seconds after completion of the half marathon and died a few minutes later (Hass v.

Summary Judgment Rulings in Recent New Jersey Waiver Cases when Gross Negligence is Alleged

By Doyice Cotten

Plaintiffs often allege both negligence and gross negligence when injured and seeking redress. New Jersey law generally holds that “contracting parties are afforded the liberty to bind themselves as they see fit.” Waivers of provider negligence, however, are disfavored in law and must be subjected to close judicial scrutiny. Such waivers must reflect the intent of the party giving up rights to do so voluntarily and with knowledge of the consequences. Further the signer of a contract,

U.S. District Colorado Court of Appeals Addresses Unsigned Waiver (Disclaimer) on Lift Ticket

 By Doyice Cotten

Carolyn Raup was injured dismounting a chairlift. The lift ticket was purchased for her by her daughter and son-in-law. The ticket had a waiver on its back side and a warning on the front reading “IMPORTANT WARNING ON REVERSE.” She sued alleging negligence plus other claims. The trial court ruled that Vail was protected by the waiver language. She appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals in this action (Raup v. Vail Summit Resorts,