In this Blog category you will find articles legal issues relating to injury at someones home or place of business. Personal Injury at work and insurance claims may require the help of an attorney. A good lawyer can protect your rights under the law.
In December 2014 the Oregon Supreme Court found the “liability release” printed on the back side of a lift ticket unenforceable. Bagley v. Mt. Hood Bachelor 356 Or 543 (December, 2014). Keep in mind, prior to Bagley ski resorts were already immune from injury claims caused by the “inherent risk of skiing” that are “reasonably obvious, expected or necessary”. In other words, a skier who hurt after hitting a tree or slipping on an icy snow accepts those risks and has no claim against the ski resort. Skiing is a dangerous sport and those who participate in it accept the sport’s inherent risks under Oregon law. See, ORS 30.975.
But in Bagley, Mt. Bachelor Ski resort sought even more protection than offered under ORS 20.975. In that case, Mr. Bagley was seriously and permanently injured while snowboarding on in a terrain park designed and maintained by Mt. Bachelor. Mr. Bagley claimed the ski resort was negligent in doing so. Mt. Bachelor responded claiming absolute immunity from any suit (regardless of negligence) because of an allegedly valid release printed in on the back of the ski ticket Mr. Bagley purchased. The release read in relevant part:
“RELEASE AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT “IN CONSIDERATION OF THE USE OF A MT. BACHELOR PASS AND/OR MT. BACHELOR’S PREMISES, I/WE AGREE TO RELEASE AND INDEMNIFY MT. BACHELOR, ITS OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS, OWNERS, AGENTS, LANDOWNERS, AFFILIATED COMPANIES, AND EMPLOYEES (HEREINAFTER ‘MT. BACHELOR, INC.’) FROM ANY AND ALL CLAIMS FOR PROPERTY DAMAGE, INJURY, OR DEATH WHICH I/WE MAY SUFFER OR FOR WHICH I/WE MAY BE LIABLE TO OTHERS, IN ANY WAY CONNECTED WITH SKIING, SNOWBOARDING, OR SNOWRIDING. THIS RELEASE AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT SHALL APPLY TO ANY CLAIM EVEN IF CAUSED BY NEGLIGENCE. THE ONLY CLAIMS NOT RELEASED ARE THOSE BASED UPON INTENTIONAL MISCONDUCT. “* **** “THE UNDERSIGNED(S) HAVE CAREFULLY READ AND UNDERSTAND THIS AGREEMENT AND ALL OF ITS TERMS ON BOTH SIDES OF THIS DOCUMENT. THIS INCLUDES, BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO, THE DUTIES OF SKIERS, SNOWBOARDERS, OR SNOWRIDERS. THE UNDERSIGNED(S) UNDERSTAND THAT THIS DOCUMENT IS AN AGREEMENT OF RELEASE AND INDEMNITY WHICH WILL PREVENT THE UNDERSIGNED(S) OR THE UNDERSIGNEDS’ ESTATE FROM RECOVERING DAMAGES FROM MT. BACHELOR, INC. IN THE EVENT OF DEATH OR INJURY TO PERSON OR PROPERTY. THE UNDERSIGNED(S), NEVERTHELESS, ENTER INTO THIS AGREEMENT FREELY AND VOLUNTARILY AND AGREE IT IS BINDING ON THE UNDERSIGNED(S) AND THE UNDERSIGNEDS’ HEIRS AND LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES. “BY MY/OUR SIGNATURE(S)
Richard Rizk is now admitted to the Washington State Bar. He is also licensed to practice law in Oregon, Federal Court (9th Circuit), Oregon District Court and Illinois (currently inactive). Mr. Rizk became familiar with Washington insurance laws as a high level claims analyst in the 1990s working to resolve environmental insurance coverage disputes involving insureds including Cadet Manufacturing, Port of Vancouver and Dairygold.
This morning the City of Portland hosted a meeting of business leaders to discuss safety issues. Mayor Hales and Assistant Police Chief Day were responsive to the concerns expressed regarding the Portland’s apparently growing homeless population and the need to reach out to minority populations. Portland is looking for housing options for Portland’s homeless and just hired its first Somali police officer, Mayor Hales pointed out. Here are some photos I took of the event.
Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury and death for children ages 1 to 14 years. Here are things you can do to make your pool and spa area safe.
Install a Complete Gated Enclosure Around Your Pool
Install a four-foot or taller fence around all sides of your pool and spa, with self-closing and self-latching gates. Also, install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa.
The most overlooked pool safety hazard is leaving a pool gate unlocked. To prevent accidental drowning, keep all entries to the pool locked, and if possible install an alarm system that goes off when the surface of the water is broken. An alarm system can mean the difference between a water rescue and a potential tragedy.
Check To Be Sure That Your Pool and Spa Drain Covers Are Safety Compliant
To assure that your pool or spa has a drain cover or another anti-entrapment device that complies with ASME/ASNI A112.19.8-2007, ask your pool service provider.
Keep a Pool Safety Kit Nearby for Emergencies
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that you create a pool safety toolkit, and keep it near your pool or spa to ensure that if the worst happens, you are ready to respond.
Here is what should be in your pool safety toolkit:
- Life jackets
- Life preservers
- Lifeguard ropes to haul in struggling swimmers
- A first aid kit
- A pair of scissors to cut hair, clothing or pool cover
- A charged portable telephone to call 911
Drowning is a preventable cause of death and injury for children. By adding these water safety steps to your current safety practices you can make your pool and spa area a safe place for family fun.
Summer is the time to dust off the gas grill in preparation for barbeque season. If you plan to treat your family and friends to a backyard feast, don’t spoil the day with a major flare up. According to a 2013 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report on cooking equipment fires, gas grills were involved in an annual average of 7,200 home fires from 2007-2011, a higher number than for charcoal grills.
Inspect Your Equipment
Be sure your grill is working properly. Propane gas hose leaks or breaks are the leading causes of gas grill fires. Inspect the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year (apply a light soap and water solution to the hose and check for bubbles released from a leak), and check the entire grill regularly.
NFPA Advice for Safe Grilling
The NFPA suggests the following when grilling:
- Stay alert when grilling.
- Don’t leave the cooking/grill area unattended.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
- Remove flammable materials from around the grill.
- Only use propane BBQ grills outdoors.
- Place grills well away from the home and deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Always be sure your gas grill lid is open before igniting.
- If the flames go out for any reason, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 15 minutes before re-lighting it.
- If you smell leaking gas, turn the gas tank and grill off and immediately move away from the grill (if the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again; if the leak does not stop, call the fire department).
For additional information, visit www.nfpa.org/grilling.
A playground, whether at school or a public park, should be a safe place to play and have fun with friends. Unfortunately, every year more than 200,000 kids are treated in emergency rooms for playground related injuries. Playground injuries may involve falls on hard surfaces, head entrapment, and strangulation by entanglement. Other accidents are caused by equipment or facility design defects or poor maintenance.
The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission offers the following guidelines to make your child’s playground fun and safe:
- Surfaces around playground equipment should have at least 12 inches of soft materials, preferably rubber chips, that extends at least 6 feet in all directions from play equipment (for swings, surfacing materials should extend in back and front twice the height of the suspending bar).
- Play structures more than 30 inches high should be spaced at least 9 feet apart.
- Spaces that could entrap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs, should measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.
- There should be no sharp points or edges on equipment.
- There should be no tripping hazards, such as exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.
- Elevated surfaces, such as platforms and ramps, should have guardrails to prevent falls.
- Equipment should be anchored safely in the ground.
- All equipment pieces should be in good working order, with S-hooks entirely closed, bolts not protruding, and no exposed footings.
- Equipment should be free of rust, splinters, and missing parts.
- Ropes used as part of playground equipment should be secured on both ends.
Prevention is the key to keeping children safe. If you see something dangerous or suspicious, notify your local law enforcement right away.
Parents and caregivers need to be proactive, become familiar with where their children play, and see that children are properly supervised. By eliminating hidden dangers, you can make your child’s playground a safe, fun place to play.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), slips, trips and falls account for 15 percent of all accidents and are second only to motor vehicle accidents as a cause of occupational fatalities. Employers are required by law to provide employees with working conditions......
The Oregon Supreme Court has allowed a petition for review in paralyzed snowboarder Myles Bagley’s lawsuit against Mt. Bachelor ski resort.
State Appeals Court Upheld Circuit Court Decision
The Oregon State Appeals Court upheld in September 2013 a Deschutes County Circuit Court decision to toss out the $21.5 million lawsuit filed in 2008 against the ski area. The court ruled that Mt. Bachelor was not responsible for the injuries and ultimate paralysis of Myles Bagley, then an 18-year-old snowboarder, who was paralyzed from the waist down after going over a jump in an expert terrain park in February 2006.
Oregon Supreme Court Allows Petition for Review
Now, the Oregon Supreme Court will allow a petition for review on two issues: whether the negligence liability release agreement that Bagley signed prior to using the ski facility as a non-negotiable condition to entering a ski area violates public policy, and whether such a release agreement is “unconscionable under Oregon law.”
In the initial lawsuit, Bagley’s attorney argued that the ski area was negligent in the jump’s construction, maintenance and inspection, and if the jump had been designed differently, his injuries would not have been so serious. Mt. Bachelor argued Bagley waived his right to sue when he bought the pass and signed release forms.
In the appeal, Bagley argued that the release agreement he signed was void because it was “contrary to public policy” because of the different levels of power the ski area and Bagley had in the agreement, as well as the public interest of keeping skiers and snowboarders safe from the negligence of ski area operators.
How Safe is Your Child’s Playground? Between 1990 and 2000, 147 children ages 14 and younger died from playground –related injuries. Of these children, 31 (20%) died from falls to the surface beneath the playground equipment, most from fatal head injuries. Of these deaths, (70%)......
In some states, California for example, skateboarding is officially recognized by law as being a “Hazardous Recreational Activity” alongside sports such as Hang Gliding and Skydiving. Rough Riding Surfaces Cause Injuries As if the sport isn’t dangerous enough, rough riding......