I am in my final days in Costa Rica where I have been exploring rain forests, volcanos, and beaches. Some of the exploring is (just a little) risky. Costa Rica is famous for its “environmental tourism” also called “adventure tourism”. But where there is adventure there is a risk of misadventure. In other words, s— happens. And since I can’t go anywhere without taking my lawyer brain with me, I have been thinking a lot about the “assumption of the risk” doctrine, which protects sport facilitators from lawsuits by participants who might get hurt while engaging in the sport. This includes of course adventure sports.
I have had some “misadventures” here already. Read on and find out about them!
But first, a little about the assumption of risk doctrine. In New York, this means that if you are injured in an adventure sport such as zip-lining, hiking, bungee jumping or whatever, it is difficult to bring a claim and get compensation in court against the entity that provided or facilitated your participation in the activity. It is pretty much universally the rule – in New York and everywhere – that you “assume the risk” of dangerous activities you choose to participate in. This is based on a fundamental concept of law . It’s called “common sense”.