There's a good chance you've heard of the Tough Mudder, one of the most popular adventure races in the country. If you've tried it then you're all too familiar with the paperwork required to participate including the death waiver.
That's right; the waiver includes a release of liability for death, not just injury.
Adventure races like the Tough Mudder involve running a course full of obstacles that include lots of mud. It's fun and intense and there is legitimately a risk of injury.
But can they really enforce a waiver in the event of death?
Most potentially dangerous events have participants sign some form of waiver. They acknowledge that nothing is without risk and if risk turns into injury the event organizers aren't responsible.
Waivers generally allow an organization to avoid liability for injuries caused by simple negligence or the inherent risk of the activity.
They don't protect against injuries caused by intentional behavior on the part of the organizers and they generally don't cover gross negligence either.
Unlike traditional negligence, gross negligence is behavior so reckless that a reasonable person would foresee that it's likely to cause harm.
Tough Mudder is a difficult race that requires a lot of athletic ability to complete. Just like any intense sporting activity there are inherent risks that the participant generally assumes by competing. The waiver puts in writing what risks the participant can expect.
So far, it doesn't appear that anyone has died during a Tough Mudder event. But there have been a few deaths reported in similar adventure races, reports Los Angeles Times.
Waivers are often long and can be intimidating because they seem to cover every eventuality. But that doesn't mean they block all personal injury claims.
The only way to know if you can file a suit for your injuries is to talk to an attorney. They can give you professional advice on how to proceed and help you build a case.
Tough Mudder's death waiver so far appears to be legally sound or at least no one has tried to challenge it. While many have been injured participating in the race there's no news of any injury lawsuits filed.
- Muddy much? Millions drawn to obstacle courses (Yahoo)
- Iowa Child Injury Waivers Unenforceable (FindLaw's Injured)
- School Liability Waivers: What a Parent Signs Away (FindLaw's Injured)