“Warrior Dash” is a well-known race series that hosts extreme obstacle races throughout the United States. People obviously enjoy racing through the various obstacles and the spirit of camaraderie that permeates. That there is inherent risk of some danger is exhilarating.
The recent “Warrior Dash” held in St. Francisville, however, exposed racers to an unacceptable risk not envisioned by the thousands of Louisianans who participated. 20-30 people (and maybe more) were hurt-many seriously injured-when the “Diesel Dome” obstacle collapsed.
Before they left the starting line, each one of those people signed a document agreeing to waive liability for an injury suffered in the race. Many of them are now asking whether that documents is really enforceable? The answer, under Louisiana law, is “no.”
Louisiana has a strong public policy against personal injury liability waivers. They are invalid and unenforceable. Louisiana Civil Code article 2004 makes clear “[a]ny clause is null that, in advance, excludes or limits the liability of one party for causing physical injury to the other party.”
Why would someone go through all of the trouble if it has no legal teeth? For one thing, the parties may not know that the waiver is invalid. They are so common that we simply assume they are valid. A more sinister reason is that one party is aware and relies on the other party’s lack of knowledge to gain an advantage. Regardless of the reason, next time you fill out a waiver know that it isn’t worth the paper it was written on.
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