What is Recreational Liability?

Recreational liability law governs liability arising out of recreational activities. While it overlaps with some other fields of law (contract, tort, sports, worker’s compensation, insurance, and so on), it is distinct from those fields. Topics that are covered by or involved in the field of recreational liability law include such issues as:

  • The enforceability of recreation-related waiver agreements;

  • The assumption-of-risk doctrine;

  • The ability of parents or guardians to enter into enforceable waiver agreements on behalf of minors;

  • The ability of a person to enter into enforceable waiver agreements on behalf of the person’s spouse, heirs, or estate;

  • Indemnification issues in the context of recreational claims;

  • Common-law tort issues (such as distinctions between negligent behavior versus reckless behavior or intentional-tort behaviors);

  • Statutes relating to recreational activities and landowners’ duties and immunities relating to recreational activities (for example, the recreational use statute, Wis. Stat. section 895.52 , and similar laws in other states);

  • Issues of consent to contact or injury (such as are involved in boxing, football, hockey, and other contact sports);

  • The ability of public entities (such as schools) to rely on waivers;

  • The role of courts as opposed to the other individuals and entities (such as referees, leagues, and sports-governing bodies) who set standards and rules of behavior “on the field”;

  • Issues of consent to use photographs (or other recordings) of event participants;

  • Liability for a failure to rescue or to provide adequate treatment, or for providing treatment without consent, in a recreational context;

  • The enforceability of “back-of-the-ticket” limitation-of-liability terms (including, but not limited to, the applicability of the “baseball rule” to spectator-injury claims);

  • Volunteer and nonprofit immunity statutes (such as the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997, codified at 42 U.S.C. §§ 14501-14505); and

  • Insurance coverage for recreational events and claims.

Source: Wisbar.com


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