Feldman, Kronfeld & Beatty Law Blog

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Contracts, Sports, & Injuries: Preventing Recovery for Others' Negligence

The attorneys and staff at Feldman, Kronfeld & Beatty enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, sailing, and playing sports. Sometimes, like our clients, we are involved with an organization that asks us to sign a contract or a waiver before participating. Those waivers, long paragraphs of little text, often have provisions that can prevent you or injured loved ones from recovering for injuries received due to others' negligence. If you are participating in a sports program, be sure to ask for copies of any contract or waiver that you signed for your own records.

A perfect example is the tragedy of 20-year-old Thomas Plotkin. In 2011, Mr. Plotkin was in India with the National Outdoor Leadership School, hiking with a heavy backpack in pouring rain next to a 300-foot ravine. He slipped on a wet rock and fell into the canyon, disappearing into a raging river. His body was never found.

Ms. Plotkin's mother sued the school in federal court, saying that Plotkin should not have been allowed to hike so far ahead of the school's leaders and that the school took too long informing authorities and a local village of Mr. Plotkin's disappearance. However, the federal judge, while sympathizing with the plaintiff, found on Friday that Mr. Plotkin had signed an agreement stating that he understood that what he was doing was dangerous. The judge said that because Mr. Plotkin promised not to sue the school in case he was injured in the inherently dangerous activities of the school, the mother could not either.

New York law is much the same; it is very difficult to prove negligence if someone is injured playing a sport (of which hiking is one), even if the injury "came out of left field." If you are injured playing a sport, be sure to speak with an experienced trial lawyer to discuss your rights and any potential claims you might have. The attorneys at Feldman, Kronfeld & Beatty are available to speak to you for a free consultation on the subject of sports or hiking injuries at (212) 425-0230 or at 

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