Can You Bring A Personal Injury Case For Your Sports Or Recreational Accident?

The first question everyone asks after an injury or the death of a loved one is "how could this happen?" We work with experts to determine the cause of sports accidents and then we examine accountability.

At the San Francisco law firm of Abramson Smith Waldsmith, LLP, we take challenging cases that other attorneys refuse. Do you have a case? The only way to find out is to contact our skilled personal injury attorneys. We've seen time and again situations where an injured person or a family that has lost a loved one to wrongful death can make a financial recovery.

Signing A Release Doesn't Mean You Signed Away Your Rights

Releases and waivers of liability are usually enforced in California. If properly drafted and executed, they are recognized as valid agreements that can limit your rights.

HOWEVER, here are several ways to challenge the validity and binding effect of a release or waiver of liability:

  • Illegal content or format: Releases and waivers of liability must be clear and concise and in a font that is easy to read. They also must specifically identify all parties that are being released or waived from liability. Wording may be too narrow to cover what happened or it might not apply to the responsible party.
  • Fraud or misrepresentations: Ads, brochures or a website may have contained misrepresentations or intentionally false statements that induced your participation.
  • Gross negligence or recklessness: Releases are valid only to protect defendants from suits based on negligence, not gross negligence or recklessness.
  • Product liability: Even a valid release will not stop you from bringing a lawsuit if a product was defective. If a faulty binding on a ski, a defective bike helmet or a poorly designed ATV causes an accident, a waiver would not apply.

Do not be discouraged or intimidated because you have signed a release or waiver of liability. The law is often on your side.

Exceptions To The Doctrine Of Assumption Of Risk

Participation in a recreational sporting activity always involves some degree of risk that you assume under the law. "Inherent" risks include being hit by a baseball during a game, tackled in a football scrimmage or knocked over by a snowboarder on the slopes. Other players, coaches and facility owners or operators owe you no duty to protect you from the "inherent" risks in the sport, even if they were negligent.

The law calls this concept primary implied assumption of risk (PIAR) and it can bar you from bringing a lawsuit. But there are exceptions to the general rule. Here are two:

  • Intentional or reckless conduct — Co-participants can be held accountable if their conduct is totally outside the range of normal participation in a sporting activity. These are actions that exceed the bounds of anticipated ordinary careless conduct.
  • Not an "inherent" risk — These are things you could not anticipate, such as having a TV fall on you while you are running on a treadmill. Determining whether a risk is an inherent part of a sport or recreational activity can be complicated.

Sports and recreation accident cases can be difficult. It is essential to speak with an attorney who has obtained results in this complex area of the law. Our attorneys rely on their experience when building the right strategy to increase your chance of recovery.

We Get Results

We move quickly to secure witness statements from temporary and seasonal employees who leave for the summer. We also use cutting-edge technology and expert witnesses to help tell a client's story when it is necessary to take a case to trial.

If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury while playing a sport or on vacation, call 415-421-7995 or toll free 888-745-2988 or contact us online to tell one of our lawyers your story. We provide free initial consultations to discuss your legal remedies.