On October 8, 2016, the annual Warrior Dash obstacle course race took place in St. Francisville, Louisiana. The course consisted of 12 obstacles spanning the 5K course. Nearly 6,500 people turned out to participate in the race.
Toward the end of the all-day event, several contestants tackled an obstacle known as the Diesel Dome, a 15-20 foot wooden-ribbed climbing structure. Up and over was the goal, but for some 20 contestants, up gave way to a painful down. Beneath the weight of 20 climbers, the structure collapsed. Of those climbers, 11 were transported to local hospitals. Others traveled to hospitals in their own vehicles. Three of the victims were airlifted with potentially serious injuries.
The collapse sparked a lengthy investigation into the host of the race, Red Frog Events, LLC. And recently, the 20th Judicial District Court issued five arrest warrants for Red Frog employees and contractors responsible for building the Diesel Dome. The investigation discovered deficiencies and problems in many of the course’s obstacles.
The arrest warrants accuse the Dome’s contractors of negligent injury. The employees are accused of negligent injury and engaging in business of contracting without authority.
If I Sign a Waiver at an Obstacle Course, Can I Sue?
When signing up for an obstacle course, it is common to have to sign a waiver protecting the organizers from liability in case of injury. However, just because you sign a waiver does not mean you cannot seek damages for your injury. Take, for example, another incident at an Michigan Warrior Dash that left one man paralyzed. James Sa dove into the mud pit at the end of the race and suffered injury that left him quadriplegic. Despite signing a waiver, Sa reached a settlement and received compensation for his life-changing injuries.
If you suffer injury after signing a waiver, don’t assume you’re out of luck. Always speak to an attorney first.