With the warmer weather encouraging outdoor activities, many individuals are taking part in challenging races which as their hallmark involve obstacles, mud, or somehow getting dirty as part of the festivities.
One of the most popular types of these races, called the “Tough Mudder,” describes itself as
“probably the toughest event on the planet.” It features ten to twelve miles of obstacle courses, and was initially designed by a former counterterrorism agent for the British government. Typical obstacles include a slicked half-pipe that participants have to scale, and an obstacle where runners must traverse through live wires. Participants are not required to complete every obstacle in the race.
A recent Tough Mudder event in West Virginia resulted in the tragic death of a local 28-year-old man. According to witnesses, the man never resurfaced after jumping into ice cold water during the Walk the Plank obstacle. Friends who were also present at the race, reported that it took four to seven minutes for authorities to get to him. The race had some 75 medical professionals on duty that day. While medics were able to resuscitate him at the scene of the course, he was later flown to a local hospital, and died after being taken off of life support. According to the local medical examiner, the cause of death was accidental drowning.
Representatives of the race released a statement saying that they were “devastated” by the incident, and that they are fully cooperating with local law enforcement authorities. They also stated that this is the first death in the three year history of the company.
According to other sources, this specific race was particularly affected by injuries. One hospital reportedly became so overwhelmed with patients injured on the obstacle course that it actually had to turn people away from its emergency room. It has been reported that two participants suffered heart attacks, ten had hypothermia, head injuries, or orthopedic injuries, and one other individual was treated for drowning. The hospital reported taking in a total of 20 patients over the weekend that the event occurred.
It is standard practice in races, including those that involve a potentially increased chance of harm, to require participants to sign a liability waiver, stating that they assume the risk for any injuries that they might suffer as a result of participating.
However, even though individuals are required to sign these waivers, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are precluded from a legal claim against the race organizers should an injury occur. In cases where injury or death was the result of negligence on behalf of the race’s employees, the injury was caused due to unreasonable risks, or involved those who were not covered within the waiver’s general language, individuals and their families may be able to bring a legal claim to recover compensation for their injuries or loss.
If you or someone you know has been injured by participating in a race or other organized event in Maryland, you should contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. Our lawyers have extensive experience advocating on behalf of individuals and families who have suffered due to wrongful death in Maryland. We have represented families who have lost loved ones as a result of wrongful deaths caused by auto accidents, hospital negligence, medical malpractice, and other traumatic events. If you believe that you have lost a loved one due to the negligent or wrongful actions of someone else, please contact us by calling 1-800-654-1949 or through our website in order to schedule your free initial consultation.
More Blog Posts:
School District to Pay $90 Million for Wrongful Death of 13-Year-Old, Maryland Accident Law Blog, published April 22, 2013
3 Year Old Killed in Maryland Garage Door Accident, Maryland Accident Law Blog, published April 15, 2013