I went to a Ski Resort that made me sign a waiver. Does this mean they aren't liable at all if I get injured?

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Question: When I went to rent skis at a ski resort, the rental place made me sign a form stating that I assumed the risks involved. What did that mean?

Response: An “assumption of risk” defense is very common these days when renting sporting equipment from places like ski resorts, water parks, or even sports stadiums when entering as a spectator(check the back of your ticket next time, and you’ll see it there). Assumption of risk essentially means that you should understand and know the risks involved in participating in the activity. If something were to happen involving such risk, you could not bring a lawsuit against the person or entity that allowed you to participate.  For example, if you were to rent the skis and were involved in a skiing accident, you could not bring suit against the rental place for your injuries from skiing—you should have known the risk of injuries caused by skiing.

However, the assumption of risk is not absolute. Any sort of use of the assumption of risk defense requires that the risk assumed be inherent in participating in the activity. For example, in playing tackle football, the participant assumes the risk of injury that is involved in being tackled. Generally speaking, if the injury suffered by a participant is not a “risk” typically incurred in the sport or is not inherent to participating in the sport, than a plaintiff can defeat the assumption of risk defense brought about.

Resource: http://www.harvardlawreview.org/issues/121/feb08/recentcases/shin_v_ahn.pdf (Harvard Law Review Article on California’s evolving assumption of risk doctrine in Sports Law)

                                                                                                              Answered by Bert Gonzalez

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