Author Topic: Liability Questions  (Read 6168 times)

Offline Sam Zytka

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Liability Questions
« on: December 28, 2010, 05:55:46 AM »
so last night me, my brother and his friend, were training at a local elementary school that has been a regular spot for the past 4 years.  We were playing add on and connecting moves.  We connected in a turn vault and i was the first to do it.  It was on a wall that was about 4 feet high and was heavy as shit and apparently top heavy.  as i did a turn vault (which i have done many times before) the wall came with me and crushed both of my feet and broke them.  Luckily my brother and his friend were there and helped me out, and they both lifted and barely got it out enough before i slid out and they dropped the broken wall because it was to heavy to hold.

i have been training in this spot for years and have never been kicked out, have been told to be careful by authorities there but never asked to leave, and they weren't in the building at the time because it was at 9 last night and school was closed for holiday break

my dad wants to sue them because it wasnt my fault the wall fell and it could have happened to anyone, even scarier since it is an elemntary school, it could have fallen on a little kid, im pretty avid against the idea of suing because although i wasnt really doing anything wrong, they have been kind to me and the exact reason why i always get kicked out of places is liability issues so it would be pretty dick to always get pissed off about getting kicked out but then sue someone when i do get hurt.

first off, does anyone know where the liability lies?
second, do you think it would be right to sue because the hospital bills are already quite expensive and i could have not been doing parkour and had the wall fall on me anyways

Offline Micah.

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Re: Liability Questions
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2010, 06:10:02 AM »
Tough call, but the wall could've collapsed on anyone and then that person probably would've sued. So I would say let your dad do whatever he thinks is best, and I can understand where he's coming from, since you're his kid and all.

Sorry about the broken feet though, best of luck healing.

Offline Scott Berson

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Re: Liability Questions
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2010, 07:49:29 AM »
Eh...are the hospital bills really REALLY expensive? It seems to me like a dick move no matter what happened if you're suing an elementary school, especially since schools and teachers right now are operating on about a dollar a day (maybe not that low, but seriously, schools need money right now. Badly.)


Have you talked to anyone at the school? Maybe talk to them and see if they'll fix it, maybe they'll be nice and cover some of your expenses. It would be a hell of a lot cheaper than going to court for them and you.



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Offline Brian Dayton

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Re: Liability Questions
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2010, 07:52:19 AM »
It depends. You can sue them for having faulty playground equipment and creating a dangerous environment for kids, but if the school has one of those " No Trespassing After Dark" signs and you were training there at night they could potentially counter sue for trespassing. Just make sure you do your research and consult a lawyer (or someone with knoledge about the legal system) before taking any legal action.
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Offline MThomasfreerun

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Re: Liability Questions
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2010, 07:53:15 AM »
As one of the licensed attorneys who frequent this forum, I think I should state a few things to start:

1) Every State/jurisdiction has different laws, both statutory and court-made (common law).  Unless a lawyer knows your jurisdiction, he/she may not be much use.

2) Lawyers have a lot of legal, ethical, and professional rules they must follow in practicing law. Generally, giving advice to a person can create an attorney-client relationship (even if no contract or even money is paid) which can get an attorney into hot water if he didn't intend such a relationship. This is why I rarely if ever offer up any advice that might be construed as legal advice.

This things are to say that you are probably better off consulting an attorney in your area. Most civil litigation attorneys will give a free consultation to evaluate your case.


As for liability in this case, I don't know where you are or what the laws are in that jurisdiction, but as a freerunner (and NOT NOT NOT speaking as a lawyer), my thoughts are  (not directed at you personally but to everyone who reads):

1) CHECK YOUR OBSTACLES. Not just the first time, but EVERY TIME. You don't know what might have changed - rain, flood, fire, car crash, shifting ground, etc. Unless you are literally in an emergency and are moving to escape or to help someone, it is unlikely you are pressed for time such that you can't check your obstacles.

2) If you damage a piece of property, be responsible and offer to pay for it. Even if it's the most run-down, shoddy fence you've ever seen. If it was damaged or destroyed as a result of you touching/climbing/using it, then you need to take responsibility for it.

3)As for suing the school district for injury/medical bills, that will be up to your parents and your attorney if you choose to hire one. You can always sue anybody, the question is merely whether you will win or not, and that is a question for the courts/jury.

I do hope you heal up - injuries suck, especially for freerunners who want to get out and train. Best of luck.

(Disclaimer: none of the information in this post is intended as professional legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is intended or created as a result of the contents of this writing.)
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Offline Sam Zytka

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Re: Liability Questions
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2010, 08:26:31 AM »
we talked to a good friend who is a lawyer and he said that it would be best not to pursue anything because the schools are technically closed at 10 PM and this happened around 10 45, but im not that worried about it because my parents aren't the smartest of people and a lawsuit and all that would probably be a lot of money anyways and it would be dick to the people at the school,

Eh...are the hospital bills really REALLY expensive? It seems to me like a dick move no matter what happened if you're suing an elementary school, especially since schools and teachers right now are operating on about a dollar a day (maybe not that low, but seriously, schools need money right now. Badly.)

i guarantee that the teachers wouldnt be affected negatively because of this and there is no way their pay would change at all, also im from an upper middle class suburban neighborhood and my municipality is rather wealthy so i dont think that would be an issue

as far as the whole check your surfaces things go, the wall is really heavy and has always been in place, it had been in place throughout the entire evening and we had done much stuff on it beforehand, it was just really unlucky because the wall was topheavy i guess and the pulling motion of the turn vault was enough to put it over its own equilibrium and then momentum took a hold and drove it into the ground

but thanks for all the replies and hopefully this doesnt take much longer than 6 weeks to heal, the bones have fractures in them but apparently i got incredibly lucky because nothing is seriously broken, just chips in the bones, but thanks for all the help

Offline max eisenberg

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Re: Liability Questions
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2010, 08:38:43 AM »
if you haven't sued already good for you, if you did or are planning to than i hope i never have to meet you. people suing for their own stupid mistake makes me f#cking sick, pardon my french but, seriously.

the golden rule of parkour, check your surfaces. if the wall could have fallen it should have never been touched. this is the kind of shit that makes headlines and turns the country against the parkour community. we take a risk every single time we train, especially not on our property. we should be old enough and wise enough to take the hit for something we do, in my opinion you were to rough and not only have you ruined a spot, you broke someone else's thing. so when you dont think you have done wrong, further consider what you did.

reading your story sort of angers me that your dad would consider suing, im glad you dont usually condone it, then again you probably dont have to pay any medical bills by the sound of it.


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Offline John George 'JG'

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Re: Liability Questions
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2010, 09:03:43 AM »
And remember, you weren't practicing Parkour. You were climbing on the wall.  ;)
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Offline Sam Zytka

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Re: Liability Questions
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2010, 09:13:59 AM »
if you haven't sued already good for you, if you did or are planning to than i hope i never have to meet you. people suing for their own stupid mistake makes me f#cking sick, pardon my french but, seriously.

the golden rule of parkour, check your surfaces. if the wall could have fallen it should have never been touched. this is the kind of shit that makes headlines and turns the country against the parkour community. we take a risk every single time we train, especially not on our property. we should be old enough and wise enough to take the hit for something we do, in my opinion you were to rough and not only have you ruined a spot, you broke someone else's thing. so when you dont think you have done wrong, further consider what you did.

reading your story sort of angers me that your dad would consider suing, im glad you dont usually condone it, then again you probably dont have to pay any medical bills by the sound of it.

your assumptions and arrogance baffle me especially since you have no knowledge of me as a person or a traceur

you are mis underestimating the situation and my experience as a traceur, first off i have been practicing for around 4 years and have never been injured seriously or broken anything, i am very responsible when i am out training and it wasn't that i was f#cking around and broke something,  the surface was fine and we had already done a shit load of stuff on the wall that evening (i have done turn vaults on the wall before and even the exact sequence i was doing then before), and i have done a lot of work on it within the past week or so because i am home from college for break,  the wall was completely sturdy it never moved an inch and i have worked on it for years, i am not some irresponsible kid running around breaking stuff, i didnt break their wall, it fell on me, if a little kid had pulled on the wall it would have fallen on him too

so please don't start talking about my own stupid mistake because it wasn't a mistake, i had no fault in it, i am quite confident in myself and i can tell you with 100% assurance that there was nothing to be done, that is why im not upset about it, it sucks that i cant train for a while but it was a fluke accident and i am treating it as such, will i be more careful in the future, probably, but there is no way to plan against anything that happened

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPUc6zYBKlc
this is the only video i have with it on camera and its a really old video so bare with the really shitty parkour but the the wall at 1:18 where the kid (my brother) tic tacs to vault over is what fell, if you look you can see the structure of the wall and the way it is set up, i did a reverse turn vault from the outside and then was going to tac over to the bench, but when i did the turn vault the wall just came with me as i leaned back to absorb the shock and thus pulled on the wall
the top part of the wall the piece that is the very top broke around me luckily, the center piece is what crushed my feet and the bottom part stayed there

that is why i say that don't make assumptions about my training and my responsibility because you don't know me or the scenario, i can guarantee that daniel ilabaca or any other traceur would have had the wall fall on him if he had done a turn vault on it like i did, i dont know why it fell that time and had never done it before but it was completely random and impossible to foresee

understand that this was a fluke scenario and the fact that i was doing parkour was an insignificant footnote of the event, it wasn't my parkour that caused it to fall, it was simply the act of pulling on the wall, you can make the assumption that i did not check the surface or that i somehow was doing something wrong and caused it to fall, but i can assure you that you are wrong with that assumption and if to get you to understand a metaphor might help, me pulling on the wall and making the wall fall is my fault is like saying that a person crossing a street and getting hit by a drunk speeding driver is their fault

little kids play on those walls everyday and i am so happy that it fell on me and not one of them because it probably would have killed them

and as far as a training spot goes, the only person it is ruined for is myself which i can gurantee you i am more upset about then my feet being f#cked for a while, and as i have hopefully made clear, i dont even feel responsible for the wall falling because i wasn't doing anything i shouldn't of

Offline Tex__

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Re: Liability Questions
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2010, 11:06:01 AM »
i think what max is saying is that suing is not the answer, and is upset because it goes with the victimized mind set of America, the whole "its someone else's fault". while i doubt that it was your fault, it wasn't anyone else's fault. You chose to be out training right there, no one made you. there for no one else should be punished for a risk you took.
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Offline Alec Furtado

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Re: Liability Questions
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2010, 11:10:46 AM »
I think we need Chris Seaton in here... since he's usually available, I'll withhold any of my own judgments. Send him a PM to catch his attention?
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Offline Sam Zytka

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Re: Liability Questions
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2010, 11:13:00 AM »
i think what max is saying is that suing is not the answer, and is upset because it goes with the victimized mind set of America, the whole "its someone else's fault". while i doubt that it was your fault, it wasn't anyone else's fault. You chose to be out training right there, no one made you. there for no one else should be punished for a risk you took.

that is very well put and that is pretty much why i was against pursuing any legal action, after reading my last post i guess i made it sound like "its not my fault" type of thing, what i meant is it is no ones fault, it just happened, but yes that is a very good way of putting it, thanks

Offline MThomasfreerun

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Re: Liability Questions
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2010, 11:19:15 AM »
I think we need Chris Seaton in here... since he's usually available, I'll withhold any of my own judgments. Send him a PM to catch his attention?

Chris is probably no more likely than I am to answer this specifically, and for the reasons I set out above. But it since it only takes a second you certainly can if you'd like. You'll still need to give him a State locality.
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Offline Alec Furtado

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Re: Liability Questions
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2010, 11:25:05 AM »
Chris is probably no more likely than I am to answer this specifically, and for the reasons I set out above. But it since it only takes a second you certainly can if you'd like. You'll still need to give him a State locality.
Good points... somehow I completely skipped over your comments above, sorry. Cool to know we have another licensed attorney on here! ;D
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Offline Tex__

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Re: Liability Questions
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2010, 11:30:34 AM »
MThomas does just as good a job as Chris at answering these kind of questions.
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Offline MThomasfreerun

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Re: Liability Questions
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2010, 01:17:32 PM »
Good points... somehow I completely skipped over your comments above, sorry. Cool to know we have another licensed attorney on here! ;D


No worries - wasn't tooting my horn or anything just don't want anyone to get their hopes up too much. I think all the comments (though Max was in my opinion a bit harsh) have been very good on this issue. Shit DOES happen and we just gotta roll with it the best we can and be responsible. I also think the the OP's parents reacted how many parents would, even my own momma and I'm 27.  We get angry and quick to find fault when we or people we love are hurt.

Quote
MThomas does just as good a job as Chris at answering these kind of questions.
Thank you sir, I try my best :-) Chris is a balla for sure, and he may chime in on it anyway :-p
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Offline Kim Martin

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Re: Liability Questions
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2010, 01:22:51 PM »
Is it that free floating wall at the entrance that isn't secured to the pillars? Yeah pulling on something like that can cause it to fall, since it only has it's own weight and the ground which it may or may not be secured to. While something like that looks stable it isn't, and the utmost caution must be used when vaulting or doing other parkour tricks over it.

Remember free standing obstacles can tip and fall no matter how heavy they are

Offline Sam Zytka

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Re: Liability Questions
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2010, 03:13:47 PM »
the wall is not supposed to be free standing, if you see how there is the top part, the middle part, adn the bottom part, the middle and the top part fell the bottom part didnt, it broke off

Offline Scott Berson

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Re: Liability Questions
« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2010, 03:30:27 PM »
I would still say talk to the school first. They must know by now, or did you just set the wall back up again? I don't know how permanently broken it is.

They may ask you to pay for it, then you could bring up legal action...have a good old fashioned debate on the subject. Explain that the kids play on it every day. Maybe you'd chip in a little tiny bit of money for a replacement...you'd have to talk with them.



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Offline Sam Zytka

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Re: Liability Questions
« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2010, 03:46:45 PM »
yeah i got that part covered, and the wall is still down, the thing weighed so much that my brother and his friend who are both 22 could barely lift it off ofme

oh and i just got back from the orthopedics and i gotta wear a boot on each foot for 6 weeks, but apparently the fractures arent bad and i got incredibly lucky