Know the Law: Liability for Recreational Vehicles

Summer Sports and Recreational Activities Liability

As summer sports begin, we are hopeful that nobody is injured while playing a sport that they love or are trying out for the first time. Unfortunately, this is unlikely. To provide more clarity about sports injuries, the Michigan Supreme Court recently heard a case that has to do with this issue of recreational activities liability.

As two people were paired in a golf outing, one golfer used the golf cart and accidentally ran over the other, causing a very serious leg injury. This resulted in lost wages and medical bills that the injured golfer had to pay. The question in this case, as well as in other recreational activities, is whether the injured person has to prove “negligence” or the higher standard of “recklessness” by the other player.

What is “Inherent” to Recreational Activities Liability

The general rule is that people voluntarily assume the risks that are inherent with any recreational activity. For example, when playing golf, being struck by another player’s golf ball is an inherent risk to the sport. The highly debated question in this case is if a golf cart is inherent to the game of golf, or is this something that just happens to be on the golf course?

This is a standard that would be applied to future recreational activities liability cases. The question that will always be answered is, “is the injury the result of that which is inherent to the recreational activity or is this not inherent?”

This Case May Change the Current Law

If an injury is inherent to the recreational activity, the standard is recklessness, which is more difficult to prove. This is because people are encouraged to be competitive in the sports that they play. The fascinating thing about this case is that it is not just about golf carts, this is about the standard that would be applied in all recreational activities liability cases.

Remember to stay safe and follow the sport’s rules when playing any games this summer!

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