With the rise in popularity of obstacle course racing, millions have participated in races like Spartan Race, Rugged Maniac, Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash in the last ten years. Although serious injuries are rare relative to the number of participants, several recent incidents have caused race companies and participants to question whether their insurance will cover injuries sustained during one of these extreme competitions. Many race directors and venue owners believe they are protected because their participants sign liability waivers (jokingly referred to as “death waivers” in the gallows-humor parlance of obstacle course racing). However, these waivers vary in effectiveness from state to state, and they rarely absolve a race company of its own gross negligence.
When a waiver isn’t enough, race directors and venue owners turn to their insurance, unaware that most general liability policies exclude such losses, leaving the race in the position of paying out-of-pocket for a participant’s injury. One serious, uncovered injury during such an event can easily bankrupt a small race company.
For race directors and venue owners, the case of Maxum Indemnity Co. v. Dirty Foot Mud Ranch, LLC, No: 8:16-cv-2680-T-30AEP (M.D. Fla. Sep. 27, 2017), is a cautionary tale about the importance of having an experienced insurance attorney review all of your insurance policies, contracts, waivers and legal obligations before hosting any kind of sporting event, performance or special event.
To view the full case alert, click here.
Oct 11, 2017