Maybe it’s for a ski tour or snowshoe excursion in the mountains. Or perhaps you sign one for a cruise or a ride at the amusement park. A waiver of release means you give up your right to sue if an accident occurs while participating in the activity. But what exactly does that waiver cover?
In the recent case of Niedermeyer v. Charlton, the plaintiff took six students and herself on a zip-line excursion in Whistler, B.C. They were taken up to the zip-line course by a bus from Whistler. The group went on the zip-line and were on their way back to Whistler when the tour bus went off the road and rolled down a hill.
Ms. Niedermeyer fractured her neck, ribs and vertebrae in the accident. She decided to sue the Ziptrek company for damages. But her case was dismissed by the court. Why? Because of the waiver form she signed before going on the zip-line trek.
The accident didn’t happen on the zip-line course, so Ms. Niedermeyer thought she had a case. She argues that the waiver only covered the dangerous nature of the zip-line experience, not the travel to and from the activity site.
But the Judge says the release clearly stated that travel to and from the tour area was part of the adventure activities. So the waiver signed by Ms. Niedermeyer includes injury caused by the negligence of the Ziptrek’s bus operator.
Always carefully read any waiver form you’re asked to sign. They can cover a number of things that you might not think to check for, such as travel to and from the activity site.