More adults than ever are choosing to participate in organized sports activities, placing themselves at a heightened risk of injury. Factors that contribute to adult sports injuries include age, lack of agility and poor conditioning. The likelihood of receiving damages for injuries suffered during a sports activity, however, may be limited by various factors — including the terms of the waiver form that most sports organizers require as a prerequisite to participation.
Standard waiver language
Most organized sports waivers do the following:
- State that the participant acknowledges the risk of bodily harm.
- Release the organizer from negligence.
- Stipulate that the participant assumes risks of the sports activity
Standard for upholding waivers
Oklahoma courts consider a sports activity waiver to be valid if:
- The waiver clearly states that the organizer is released from liability.
- The agreement is made without duress — the participant is freely choosing to play the sport.
- The waiver is not against public policy and is not illegal.
Negligence vs. misconduct
In general, the purpose of a sports waiver is to release the organizer from liability for negligence. An example of negligence is a slip and fall on the field. Waivers do not, however, release sports organizers from liability for recklessness or intentional misconduct or from legal violations. An example of intentional misconduct is when a coach assaults a member of the opposing team.
If you are injured while participating in an organized sports activity, the experienced Oklahoma City sports injury attorneys at Cunningham & Mears, PC can advise you of your rights and present the necessary evidence to enable you to collect damages for injuries.