November is marathon season, and many of us may be participating in a turkey trot this year. But while running is a popular activity that’s great for your health, you may also run the risk of injury when you go out on a long run. If you are injured during a marathon, can someone be held liable for your medical expenses? Read on to find out.

If You’ve Been Injured Through Someone Else’s Negligence, You May Be Eligible for Compensation

Every member of society has a legal obligation to act in a way that doesn’t endanger the people around them. The legal term for this obligation is “duty of care.” And when someone acts negligently and recklessly endangers and harms other people, they can be held liable, whether it happened in a home, on the street, in a place of business, or yes, at a marathon.

However, before an injury victim can get compensation, they’ll need to prove a few things:

  • First, that the at-fault person was acting negligently.
  • Second, that the victim was injured.
  • Third, that the victim was injured as a direct result of the at-fault party’s negligence.
  • Fourth, that the victim suffered damages because of their injuries (typically meaning they required medical treatment and were billed for that treatment).

If you are unable to prove all four of these things, your likelihood of getting compensation goes way down.

Who Is Responsible for Injuries at a Marathon?

Depending on how you were injured, there may be a few candidates for liability. In many cases, it may be the organizer of the race. Some examples of when a race organizer may be liable for injuries include:

  • Failing to accommodate for weather conditions (extreme heat or cold)
  • Failing to remove or mitigate major road hazards on the race route that pose a tripping or slipping risk
  • Failing to communicate dangers on the race route (for example, race lanes shared with vehicular traffic)
  • Failing to provide sufficient emergency medical assistance on scene

Other times, racers may be injured by other racers who cause them to fall, or even by bystanders who throw trip hazards into the running lanes.

It’s important to establish early on who is potentially liable for your injuries, and a lawyer can help you do so.

What If I Signed a Waiver?

In most marathons, race organizers will require all participants to sign a waiver saying they accept the risks of participating, including any injuries. But while race organizers use these waivers to protect themselves from liability, it doesn’t mean you have no options after suffering an injury at a marathon that was caused by another party’s negligence. But it does make it harder to get compensation.

One way you may be able to bypass a waiver is if the injury you suffered was one that you could not have anticipated, and thus was not one of the risks you agreed to take on when you signed the waiver. Race organizers can also be held liable for acts of gross negligence despite victims having signed a waiver beforehand.

Unlike negligence, which is often simple thoughtlessness on the part of the at-fault party, gross negligence is typically defined as a willful disregard for others’ safety. For example, a race organizer underestimating how many medical personnel they’d need at a race would be negligence, but a race organizer knowing how many medical personnel they’d need, but deliberately hiring less to save money, would be gross negligence.

Contact Joye Law Firm for a Free Consultation

If you aren’t sure whether someone else can be held legally liable for your injuries, or whether any waiver you signed will prevent you from getting compensation in a case of clear negligence, then the best way to determine what your next steps should be is speaking to a lawyer.

Our South Carolina injury lawyers are experienced in all manner of injuries and accidents, and we’ll carefully review the details of how you were injured to determine if you have a case for compensation. When you call our firm, your initial consultation is always free and there’s no obligation to hire.

Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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