Re: Whitewater rafting and liability waivers
Mon, 9 Feb 1998 11:44:51 -0700
Liability waivers are now standard in the whitewater rafting industry. I
know because I write them. The absolve the company of their liability
including their negligence. The usually have a clause that says if you
sue, you have to pay their attorney fees also.
47 out of the 50 states allow them. They force people to understand what
exactly they are getting into. The then force the participants to pay
their own medical bills.
Think of it in a different way. If you take a Scout camping and he falls
off a cliff they sue the Scoutmaster. If you had a waiver, they could not
sue you. You may feel some responsibility for some of his medical bills,
but $1,000,000 for pain and suffering for a broken ankle may seem a little
Most times in wilderness activities no one really knows what happens. In a
courtroom the jury looks at the injured party and looks at the outfitter
and says outfitter has insurance, they pay for the injury.
I defended an outfitter who was sued because a rock rolled down a hill and
broke someone's toe. We proved that the Indians had used the trail,
animals, miners etc for thousands of years. Yet the person sued because we
were in charge or the rock or took the person down the wrong trail.
Making the decision to not allow your son to go, is a valid decision. It
should be based on the fact the risks are more than you want your son to
encounter. Not because you may not be able to make money on the outfitter
if someone is injured or because you do not have insurance.
Releases do not work if the outfitter or the guide is intentionally,
willfully & wantonly, or grossly negligent.
Waivers are fairly valid in Tennessee if they are written correctly.
Not signing a waiver does not mean you are not a great parent. Not signing
a waiver means you looked at the risks associated with the sport and
decided your son or yourself was not willing to accept those risks. That
is a perfectly valid reason for not signing a waiver.
Yours in Scouting
12340 W. Alameda Pkwy., Lakewood, CO 80228-2841
Eagle Class of 69, Vigil, Denver Area Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City