Have you ever seen a group of climbers following an instructor with terrible form on top rope?
Even “experts” or seasoned hobbyists can make mistakes or have catastrophic accidents.
Every day, millions of people from across the country come to California for its beautiful parks and outdoor recreation activities. Hiking, backpacking, camping, climbing, canoeing, rafting, boating, motorsports, and watersports bring in hobbyists, adventurers, and novices alike. Thousands of recreational clubs host events and outings throughout the state.
Whatever your level of experience, the outdoors can be unpredictable and dangerous. Hazards can vary from the mundane to the wild – dehydration, heat stroke, falls from high places, encounters with wildlife, unexpected weather conditions, or rough rapids.
No matter how well prepared you are, no matter how experienced your guide, some activities come with serious risks – especially physical activities and outdoor recreation activities.
But some risks can be protected against. Sports organizers and recreational activity guides must take steps to protect their customers as best as they can. Otherwise, you could hold the program operators legally responsible for your injuries.
An injury can profoundly affect your life, your family, your career, and your ability to do the activities you love. If your injury could have been prevented with the proper care, you should be able to hold the responsible person accountable for their actions. That could mean filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for your damages and losses.
What Is Considered a “Recreational” Injury?
Recreational injuries can happen whenever you’re participating in a sport or physical activity for fun, as a hobby, with your family, or on your own time. You may be new to the activity or you may have been doing it for years – injuries can happen when you least expect them to.
To make matters worse, an accident in the wilderness could mean medical treatment is harder to access when you need urgent care the most. This can worsen the outcome of your injuries.
While you may be outdoor sporting on your own, many recreational activities happen with the guidance of experts, organizations, and businesses. Companies that operate in recreational and outdoor sports must take care to protect their customers and clients from some hazards. Otherwise, you could hold them legally responsible for injuries caused by their negligence.
What Are the Most Common Injuries in Active Recreation?
Even relatively safe outdoor activities like golf come with risks. Companies who operate these types of facilities and outdoor adventure experiences must anticipate and minimize risks when possible. This is true whether the activities are inherently dangerous or not, such as:
- Team sports at all levels, including K-12, college, intramural, and adult
- Roller sports like biking, skateboarding, roller skating, rollerblading, or hockey
- Winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, tubing, or ice hockey
- Water activities such as boating, jet skiing, surfing, water gliding, snorkeling, or diving
- Motorsports like motocross, ATVs, offroading, or racing
- Recreational or competitive league sports like tennis or volleyball
- Outdoor activities like hiking, backpacking, camping, rafting, or rock climbing
- Indoor recreational activities including climbing, swimming, or contact sports
The list is as long as people have hobbies. You may get hurt because your martial arts studio overfilled their classes, leaving their students with less space to move without colliding. Or – the wilderness guide who takes you out on a Grand Canyon camping trip may not actually be qualified for the difficulty level, leaving you in a dire situation.
Examples of common outdoor recreation injuries include:
- Broken bones, fractures, bruises, or cuts from blunt trauma or sharp hazards
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) like concussions or brain swelling or bleeding
- Fire-related injuries such as burns or smoke inhalation
- Skin rashes from exposure to toxins or allergens
- Environmental exposure causing dehydration, heatstroke, or frostbite
- Water-related injuries such as slips and falls or drowning
- Spinal injuries such as whiplash or paralysis
The more severe your injuries, the more profound their effects are likely to be on your life. You may need to take time off from work to recover. Some injuries may make you unable to continue your chosen career – or to even work at all. Not to mention the cost of medical treatment, even with insurance. You may need supportive care for the rest of your life.
If someone else’s carelessness, recklessness, negligence, or intentional actions caused your injuries, you should not be the one paying for the consequences. A successful personal injury lawsuit can get you the support you need to recover and thrive in the future.
Can You Sue for Recreational or Sports Injuries?
When you file a legal claim for personal injury, the law can help you recover compensation for the injuries and damages you’ve suffered. That includes not just the economic damages like medical bills or lost income but also non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
A lawsuit should help you cover not just your current losses but any future losses – as long as they’re connected to your injury. That could mean compensating you for 30 years of a promising career or supportive therapeutic care for the next few decades.
But not all injuries can lead to lawsuits. If a recreational company took the proper level of care but you were injured by completely unforeseeable circumstances, they may not be responsible.
You may also be responsible for your own injuries if you failed to follow instructions or got injured solely because of your own negligence. In California, the amount of compensation you can recover will be reduced by the amount that you’re at fault. So if you’re 30% at fault, your total compensation in a lawsuit will be limited to 70% of your total losses.
The only way to know for sure if you have a strong case is to talk to a personal injury lawyer about the incident that caused your injuries. Your attorney can analyze the facts and determine what evidence you’ll need to build the strongest possible case in your favor.
Click here now for a free consultation with an experienced California recreational injury lawyer.