Outdoor Adventure Waiver Held Enforceable

Spring is here and you may be planning your next outdoor adventure.  When you arrive and you are asked to sign a waiver before embarking on the activity, you should be aware that the waiver is likely to be enforceable.  Justice Goepel in a recent BC Supreme Court decision reminds us of this.

In Loychuk v. Cougar Mountain Adventures Ltd., agroup of friends went to Whistler for a wedding.  They decided to go ziplining while there.  Sounds fun and not that risky, right?  Well in this case, two employees of the zipline company (one at each end of the same zipline) failed to properly communicate with each other.  The first employee sent Ms. Loychuk down the zipline but she didn’t make it all the way across.  This is not a big deal – they tell you that this might happen.  The problem is that they then sent Ms. Westgees, the other Plaintiff, down the same line, not realizing that Ms. Loychuk was still on the line (they couldn’t see her from the platform).  Ms. Westgees collided at high speed with Ms. Loychuk, causing injury to both of them.

Cougar Mountain Adventures admitted that its employees’ negligence caused the injuries but argued that the waiver that the Plaintiffs signed was a complete defence to the action.  Mr. Justice Goepel agreed.  He found that Ms. Loychuk and Ms. Westgees both signed the waiver and had adequate time to read it.   

Justice Goepel noted that unless the Defendant knew that the Plaintiffs didn’t intend to agree with the waiver or unless the Defendant failed to take reasonable steps to bring the content of the waiver to the Plaintiffs’ attention, the Plaintiffs are bound by it.

So does this mean that you can’t embark on a new adventure?  Of course not, but be aware that the waiver that they make you sign is very likely going to stick.

Loychuk v. Coast Mountain Adventures Ltd.

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