Many people enjoy vacations or simple weekend trips throughout Michigan. This may include going for a hike, a boating expedition, engaging in winter and summer sports, going swimming, riding an ATV, or going to play golf. Many of these locations are often owned by another party, who retain a legal duty to protect any invited visitors onto their land.
One way that landowners often try to reduce their liability for injuries is to have participants sign a waiver. These often state that the participant waives all right to sue for any accidental harm that occurs while on that property. While this may prohibit a person from suing under a standard negligence framework, the law may allow an injured person to recover damages in cases of gross negligence.
If you have suffered an injury while participating in a recreational activity, such as a horseback riding or hunting accident, you may be traumatized and unsure of how to proceed. However, a Michigan recreational injury lawyer might be able to help. A tenacious attorney could help to examine any waivers that may apply, as well as investigate the facts of a case to determine if another party may be at fault.
Common Examples of Recreational Injuries
From a camping accident in the woods to jet skiing or a ride on a moped, any recreational activity has inherent risks. However, a failure by a landowner to keep a participant safe or the neglect of another individual to act reasonably may lead to devastating injuries. For example, a simple trip and fall on a wet surface may cause broken bones, separated joints, or traumatic brain injuries, while a boating collision or firearm accident may cause severe spinal cord damage or even death. Student-athletes and youths may also suffer a concussion while participating in organized sports and recreational activities.
Furthermore, activity-specific accidents—such as a malfunctioning amusement park ride, a defective electric scooter, a poorly-maintained sporting vehicle, or dangerous playground equipment—may also result in serious injuries and subsequent personal, financial, and professional damages. Regardless of the facts, a knowledgeable recreational injury lawyer could work with a plaintiff injured in a Michigan accident to examine the reasons for their harm.
The Waiver Problem
Many recreational activity owners will have all participants sign a waiver. At the very least, they will have a prominent sign—stating that they carry no liability in the event of an injury that results from negligence—to help protect their interests. Michigan courts have held, in certain circumstances, that these releases of liability may invalidate a common negligence claim. These waivers often do not apply to injured minors even if the liability form was signed by a parent or guardian.
However, plaintiffs may still have a path forward if they can prove that a defendant was grossly negligent. In simple terms, a defendant is grossly negligent if they act in a way that takes no consideration whatsoever for the protection of others. For example, a ski facility operator can be held liable for failing to use proper safety techniques to prevent injuries on the slopes or for a snowmobile accident, especially when it can be proven that injury was likely to occur absent proper safety prevention measures.
Proving negligence and gross negligence requires the skill and experience of a seasoned Michigan recreational injury lawyer. A full and complete investigation into the facts and safety practices of the property owner or activity provider is the only way to prove and win this type of lawsuit.
Recreational Accident Case Study
A personal injury lawsuit was filed for a Michigan boat accident. Plaintiffs were passengers on a personal watercraft that was struck by another boat. One plaintiff was killed and the other suffered serious injuries, including the amputation of a leg and a serious head injury.
The suit alleged that the other boat operator was reckless and his negligence caused the crash. The defendant argued he was not negligent and that the operator of the plaintiff’s boat caused the accident. The case went to trial and the jury awarded the plaintiffs a total of $4,600,000.
Reach out to a Michigan Recreational Attorney to Take Legal Action
All landowners have a duty to protect paying customers and invited guests onto their land. This especially applies to the owners of recreational activities and equipment. Because of this, many owners have all participants sign waivers that appear to dismiss any right to sue, following an injury. However, an injured person may be able to void these waived rights if they can prove a defendant was grossly negligent and caused their injuries.
A Michigan recreational injury lawyer could help you to pursue a claim if the negligence of an individual or property owner was responsible for your injuries. A successful claim for compensation may include payment for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills, and other losses. Call a knowledgeable attorney today to discuss your case.
Michigan Recreational Injury References and Resources
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