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Little Legal Voices in My Head


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I'm not a worry wart by nature, and I don't plan my life so as to eliminate risk. But there is a little voice in the back of my head asking questions about this event. Should we specifically have a disclaimer posted in the Gunnison forum about liability? Would that be useless (legally) and just be a distraction?


Statistically speaking someone is likely to have an accident on the way there or back, or even during one of the rides.


Here's my initial take on this, but I'd like your wisdom:


1) If someone has an accident on the way there or back, I can't imagine how the BBS (i.e., mua) could be liable for that.


2) If someone has an accident while following a route sheet, ditto. Unless it takes them on I-40 across that bridge that got knocked out! smile.gif


3) But if someone has an accident on an organized ride (the stuff you are doing, Dick), I could see someone having a case UNLESS they sign a liability waver. Ok, you say, none of these people would sue. To that I say you don't get the kind of emails I get! Underneath this civility there are some pretty hostile people. A very small minority, thank God. But what if someone dies. Then we've got an angry spouse or estate trustee who doesn't understand motorcycling and so on.


I'm not trying to put a damper on anything, but I'm wondering if we ought to insist on a signed liability waiver if someone goes on an organized ride.

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Replying to myself here (I don't need someone else to carry on a very interesting conversation), can you give me/us some more detail on the rides, Dick? How long and far and the type of ride it'll be? I think that would help us navigate this issue, so to speak.


After thinking about it a bit more, I'm pretty certain I want to have people sign a form. I am going to need some time to get a form together, so if you folks see your way to responding today, I'd appreciate it.

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Yeeha! Stephen

I'm not going to sue the BBS, but in these days & times, there are plenty that would. Let's have the form. Where do I sign?

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Have a "standard" waiver signed at check in. If you e-mail to me I can print and have copied at kinkos or work (if the boss isn't looking) and carry them up in the truck.

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Sorry for not chiming in, the court clerks were on strike yesterday and everything ran smoothly.... smile.gif


Have a waiver and make people sign it. Don't count on it to protect you. color=red>


The law on liability waivers varies from state to state, activity to activity, and case to case. In some states, a waiver is good as gold. In others, it's worthless. Sometimes a waiver is good against the person who signs it, but not spouses or family. There's a famous story about a guy who signs a waiver and gets killed, the defendant is sitting on the stand testifying that the waiver was knowing and voluntary, and the plaintiff's attorney points to the people sitting at counsel table and bellows, "But his WIDOW and ORPHANED CHILDREN didn't sign a waiver, did they?" frown.gif Then there are issues as to whether the waiver was voluntary, knowing, whether (in case of accident) there was willful and wanton conduct on our part (leading a night ride across the I-40 bridge and telling them it's been fixed), the degree of control we have over the riders, the duty of care we have to them, etc. All issues that we really hope we never have to explore.


It might be a good idea to let people know now that there will be a mandatory waiver, so that they can't claim that they were forced into it by having it sprung upon them after riding cross-country just to do these group rides. Have people sign it at registration or in the morning before the ride, so they're not signing under the influence of adult beverages.


At every Team Strange endurance rally, Adam Wolkoff hands me the waiver to sign with the comment, "Please sign this waiver that we both know is unenforceable."


But you're better off with a signed unenforceable waiver than with no signed waiver at all. color=red>


As for accidents to and from the event, the chances of liability are pretty remote, although if any of our attendees happen to be pro athletes, plaintiff's lawyers, or CEOs of big corporations, where there's a big salary at stake (or lots of misaccounted funds), it's not unthinkable that an enterprising shyster could claim that whoever thought up this Un-Rally failed to take due care by locating it where there are lots of dangerous roads leading to it. But then again, somebody could claim that this BBS encouraged them to engage in the dangerous sport of motorcycle riding, even absent an Un-Rally, so...


Standard disclaimer included. color=green>

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