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Liability of Businesses Providing Recreational Activities

Anyone who owns or operates a business providing recreational activities to the public (such as but not limited to, scuba or skin diving, sky diving, bicycle tours, and mountain climbing) must exercise reasonable care to ensure the safety of patrons and the public, and will be liable for damages resulting from negligent acts or omissions which causes injury. Hawaii Revised Statutes § 663-1.54.

Notwithstanding Hawaii law, owners and operators of recreational activities will not be liable for damages for injuries to a patron resulting from inherent risks associated with the recreational activity if the patron participates in the recreational activity voluntarily signs a written release waiving the owner or operator’s liability for damages resulting from the inherent risks.

Also, these waivers will not be valid unless:

(1) The owner or operator first provides full disclosure of the inherent risks associated with the recreational activity; and

(2) The owner or operator takes reasonable steps to ensure that each patron is physically able to participate in the activity and is given the necessary instruction to participate in the activity safely.

The trier of fact (the jury) determines whether a risk is “inherent” or not. “Inherent risk” is defined under the law as: 1) A danger that a reasonable person would understand to be associated with the activity by the very nature of the activity engaged in; 2) A danger that a reasonable person would understand despite the owner or operator’s exercise of reasonable care to eliminate or minimize the danger, and is generally beyond the control of the owner or operator; and 3) The injury does not result from the negligence, gross negligence, or wanton act or omission of the owner or operator.

For example, if a patron voluntarily decides to go bungee jumping or participates in a mixed martial arts fight, a jury could determine that these type of activities are an “inherent risk” for which an owner or operator should not be liable if the patron suffers injuries and damages as result of his voluntary decision to participate in these type of activities despite the inherent risks involved.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

No matter what your situation is, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Louis P. Mendonca, Attorney at Law will fight to protect you and your family’s rights.

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