If you are seriously injured in a recreational setting, you will need an attorney who is experienced in assessing the legal standards that apply to your injury because the applicable legal standards vary depending on factors that are probably unknown and unsuspected by you as you start to deal with your injury. At Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P., we have successfully represented clients who have been seriously injured and families of those who have died in a wide variety of recreational settings. Examples of our successful experience include death due to guide negligence on Mt. Kilimanjaro, the negligence of a high school’s swimming coaches, the design of a high school football stadium that did not conform to recognized safety standards and the negligence of Washington State in failing to maintain its state campgrounds free of dangerously rotted trees, as well as many other settings in which our clients or their loved ones were seriously injured or killed.
The settings in which recreational injuries occur vary greatly enough to defy listing, but certain settings recur with some regularity:
- At the gym or other recreational business
- At organized sporting events
- In guided or ticketed activities
- In parks on public or private open land
In a business setting, such as at a gym, the law that applies will likely include what we have previewed for you in our premises liability pages. However, there are likely also to be contract issues because you have probably signed some form of contract that seeks to limit or eliminate the owner’s liability.
In organized sports, injury often occurs in a school setting where student athletes are injured in school-sponsored athletic programs. The rules defining the injured athlete’s ability to recover may be affected by a combination of coaching standards, known and accepted risks of injury, contract issues, premises liability/facility design standards and rules defining governmental liability.
Another category of cases with various applicable legal standards is that consisting of injuries arising in guided, contracted, or ticketed settings. This category is made up of any recreational activities for which you might sign a contract or buy a ticket to participate. These can be almost any activity from guided treks, to skiing, to mountain climbing, to cruises. For this class of recreational injuries, not only are industry standards of conduct important, but understanding contracts, their reach and their limits, is paramount because by signing a contract or, in many cases, by simply buying a ticket that has terms and conditions printed on it, the person or organization responsible will almost certainly argue that you have signed away some or all of your legal rights.
We also see a number of cases in which a person has been injured while recreating in non-contract situations on Washington’s open or public lands and parks. In these cases, the injured victim’s first hurdle is to overcome the property owner’s immunity from being held accountable for injuries occurring on the property. This is because of the laws in Washington that give landowners far-reaching immunity from personal injury lawsuits to encourage them to open up their lands for public recreation where no fee has been charged for the use of the land.
These recreational use laws extend beyond private owners of recreationally desirable tracts of raw, unimproved land to potentially immunize from liability cities, counties and the State of Washington in their ownership, operation and maintenance of parks, campgrounds and other public recreation sites and facilities. In cases involving injury occurring on open or public lands, parks and campgrounds, you will need an attorney thoroughly familiar with the intricacies of the recreational use immunity statutes and the case law interpreting those statutes who can critically examine and appraise for you the condition that caused your injury, the owner’s knowledge of that condition and any fees that were charged for your use of the land as those factors bear on both the landowner’s immunity and ultimate legal responsibility.
If you or someone you love has been injured or has died in a recreational setting, please contact the Tacoma based attorneys of Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.C. at 866-454-RHHK(7445) or (253) 383-5388 or click here to submit a simple case form. Our initial consultation is free of charge and if we accept your case, we only get paid for our services if you receive monetary compensation.