Everybody Loves Raymund

Waiver of Liability not Accountability

I write this entry in reaction to the tragic events after the 34th National Milo Marathon Eliminations in Manila and the Energizer Run in Cebu.

In the Milo Elims runners have died after suffering from different causes, i.e. heatstroke, dehydration, cardiac arrest, etc. (Read about one of the Milo Runner’s death as told by his father here). After the Energizer run, a 19 year old boy died in the ER after smashing the hospital’s glass doors (Energizer Story here). Though the injuries and/or deaths happened after the races are the race organizers absolutely free from any accountability or legal liability? One might ask, are they protected by the Waiver that runners sign when we register for their races?

Here is my feeble attempt to answer these queries.

A Waiver of Liability is a form used by race organizers to protect them from being legally responsible for injuries sustained as a result of their event. Waivers of Liability work under the premise of  assumption of risk. In other words, by signing it, runners declare that they understand the potential for injury (or even death) by joining the race and intentionally and voluntarily give up their right to take legal action to recover damages in case they are injured.

However, this protection in favor of race organizers is not absolute. It is not meant to protect them if they are grossly negligent or reckless in the conduct of races. For example, if a runner is injured as a result of poorly maintained traffic or an improperly assembled start/finish arc.

Also, as a general rule, rights may be waived, unless the waiver is contrary to law, public order, public policy, morals, or good customs, or prejudicial to a third person with a right recognized by law.

Running is a potentially hazardous activity. By participating in a race, one assumes risks of serious injury or death from various causes such as falls, over exertion, dehydration, contact with other participants, spectators or road users. Waivers are only enforceable if properly worded in compliance with the law and when it can be proven that an injured participant truly understood the risks involved in running.

Granting that the organizers are free from legal liabilty, they are still morally accountable and responsible for the participants. Such accountability goes beyond financial support and dole outs. A simple acknowledgment of the responsibility in some way to comfort and console the injured party would be enough for a decent person.

Let’s pray that these incidents don’t happen again. It may be convenient to claim that they are fortuitous events, force majeure and “acts of God” but the fact remains, there should be people who are responsible and accountable.

July 13, 2010 - Posted by | Running, The Law

3 Comments »

  1. good post atty! bigla ko na-miss mag-sit-in sa class mo. 😉

    Comment by kulitrunner | July 13, 2010

  2. […] can no longer be ignored and tolerated. I have to agree with what Raymund said in his blog entry, Waiver of Liability Not Accountability, there should still be people who are responsible and […]

    Pingback by Running in the Year 2010: Mary Grace, Remus, Alexander, Kassy and Eric « BananaRunning | July 13, 2010

  3. pa-sit in nga din. very informative post atty. -Mariel

    Comment by thesolemates | July 13, 2010


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: