Ben Parker (bparker@INTERACCESS.COM)
Mon, 2 Oct 1995 23:17:19 -0700
Actually Mike your reply was rather interesting to read. I have one
comment relating to 'waivers of liability' being generally worthless.
One of my hobbies is scuba diving. Diver operators have all moved away
from the waiver of liability to an express 'assumption of risk'
Basically this says specifically that I am voluntarily choosing to
engage in a potentially dangerous activity with a number of known
hazards (equipment failure, loss/depletion of air, etc), and also
unknown or unassessable risks (weather, currents, tides, sea creatures,
medical problems, etc), and I choose to participate anyway in spite of
knowing about these risks.
I am not a lawyer and don't know the legal ramifications, but it seems a
far more sensible approach to agree in advance that some activity you are
about to do (or that parents are about to let their sons do) may have
known risks that they are aware of, but are willing to participate in the
activity anyway. This seems a more enlightened approach that might be
followed in composing parent permission slips, etc. Rather than
building a legal 'wall' to hide behind (the feeling generated by most
liability releases) it openly reminds the parents that the outdoors is
not a perfect place, and unforseen things can sometimes happen even to
the best prepared/equipped leaders and boys. Naturally it leaves open
(as it should) any question of gross negligence which hopefully all our
training should prevent.
Such an assumption of risk statement would probably have prevented a
problem that occurred when I was on Camp Staff many years ago. A boy on
an overnight hike to a nearby lake collapsed with convulsions. After we
evacuated him back to Salt Lake City, (the camp was at 10,500ft in Utah)
we later learned he had a heart problem that his parents had
specifically NOT put on his medical history form because "They did't
want his activities at camp curtailed..." We are still trying to
figure out why he didn't have a problem passing the swimming test
which required jumping into the (51 degree) lake water.
Ben Parker ............. (Oak Park IL) ........... email@example.com
* ASM T-16 Oak Park IL (founded 1916) * Beavers are Busy! (C-22W-93) *
* Pachsegink Lodge 246 * Des Plaines Valley Council IL * Eagle Scout-1962 *
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