SpeedVegas, Las Vegas' indoor 11-mile auto racing track re-opened after 12 days of closure following the death of two individuals racing a Lamborghini that crashed and caught fire. Employees stated there were five crashes in the 1st year of operation. SpeedVegas rents performance cars for track usage without speed limits in vehicles capable of reaching 150 mph. A lawsuit was settled with undisclosed terms; Dominic Gentile, attorney for the plaintiffs, stated simply that “we resolved the matter” with confidential terms.
Assumption of Risk
Some activities for recreation, amusement, or entertainment are fundamentally dangerous, thus people are said to “assume the risk” if they participate. Many racing or go-kart operators require that customers sign liability waivers releasing them from potential liabilities, even if determined to be negligent. Waivers of liability are legally enforceable in Nevada, providing operator protection in incidents of ordinary negligence.
Liability Waivers in NV
Waivers apply if the operator exhibited ordinary negligence leading to injury or death; however, does not extend to acts of gross negligence. Gross negligence means extreme negligence, such as a total absence of care, or reckless or intentional actions. The validity of a waiver in NV requires that the terms of the agreement are easily understood, does not have key clauses listed in fine print, and does not extend beyond the scope of ordinary negligence.
Four Key Provisions in SpeedVegas' Agreement
- Waiver and release with covenant not to sue SpeedVegas or their operators, franchisors, organizers, sponsors, etc.
- Assumption of risk is acknowledged; events are dangerous and may lead to injury or death
- Indemnity and hold harmless from loss, liability, damage, or cost that may arise on the premises
- The participation is voluntary with informed consent that safety cannot be guaranteed.
What About Driver Auto Insurance?
Progressive Insurance's provisions clearly apply exclusion. Coverage will not be afforded to insured people who incur injury or damage resulting from any coordinated racing, stunt, or speed contests or activities. This includes activities engaged in at racing courses or tracks.
Colorado's Relative Laws
Colorado enforces waivers also; however, they may be challenged and repudiated in court. They must be drafted according to contract law, and may not involve minors or willful or malicious acts. In addition, the state has laws pertaining to mechanical amusement activity involving passengers traveling along fixed or restricted courses for pleasure or thrills. Statute C.R.S. 8-20-1002 pertaining to amusement rides or devices could be interpreted as applicable in racetrack scenarios. Operators owe “invitee” guests rights of reasonable protection from risks based on the Premises Liability Act. Years ago, recreational operators were typically shielded based on the common law assumption of risk principle. Today, operators depend more on waivers that continue to be challenged in litigation.
If you have incurred an injury from the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to financial redress for losses and hardship. The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal has been defending Colorado injury victims for years. For a complimentary consultation, contact the office today at (303) 825.2223.