Sometimes people enjoy doing things that have some inherent risks associated with them. As a keen rider I will take horse-riding as an example, but I'm sure most reasonably active people will have something similar among their hobbies.

Right now we are losing riding schools at a massive rate for two reasons – firstly that people are going out of their way to injure themselves in order to maliciously sue the schools or suing the schools as a result of a routine fall, secondly that in order to protect against this the schools are having to take on increasingly onerous public liability insurance, whose costs are gradually driving them out of business.

What I would like to see is a way for people to accept that they are taking part in a risky activity and they are prepared to accept that there is a possibility of injury from that activity and they waive their right to claim damages for injuries that occur as a consequence of the inherent risks of the activity.

I'm not suggesting a blanket protection against all claims of negligence- sometimes people or companies are negligent and genuinely put customers at risk, but these are a tiny minority and the current assumption that every sports instructor or company is a liability suit waiting to happen sets a dangerous precedent. In most cases where there are professional instruction bodies it should be easy enough to establish from an independent panel of peers whether correct measures have been taken. The right to offer a waiver could be tied to following guidelines from a relevant professional body.

Why is this idea important?

Those of us who are adults and accept the risks of our activities should have the right to be treated as adults. By wrapping us in cotton wool this way the state and legal system are suffocating sports, reducing the ways that keen beginners can get involved and creating a less active population, in direct contrast to the campaigns to get people engaged with sports and other activities beneficial to health.

One Reply to “Create an enforceable waiver/consent form for hazardous activities”

  1. Obviously this is a good idea. I do believe that employers and businesses do have certain responsibilites to protect the public- to minimising accidents and injury where possible and by offering correct protective equipment. But if they take time to educate people of any risks involved in their particular activity, and a waiver signed, I dont agree a person should be able to sue to easily. Common sense says if you agree to ride a motorbike at 80mph on a track, you are aware of risks involved and should be prepared & accountable for possible injuries. This page would be more useful however if examples of legal waiver forms were published.

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