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Zip-Line Injuries: Liability for Injuries and Assumption of Risk

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Zip-line injuries can often result in falls from substantial heights resulting in substantial injuries such as broken bones and closed head injuries, such as concussions or traumatic brain injuries.  Some accidents have even been fatal.  When you sign a waiver to ride on a zip-line, you do not give up all of your rights to recover for injuries sustained as a result of the accident.  However, you do give up some of your rights, such as to recover for fright where there was no defective equipment, improper supervision, or other negligent conduct.  Importantly, if you have any questions regarding a personal injury you or a family member suffered while riding a zip-line, you should contact the law office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP now for a free case evaluation.

New York State Laws Regarding Zip-Line Safety

A person in New York can assume only the risks of which he or she is aware.  Thus, as noted above, fear of traveling over heights while zip-lining is a known risk inherent to the sport of zip-lines.  However, where the staff improperly operates or maintains the equipment, or where the equipment is defective, then there would be no assumption of risk.  This is the valid legal case notwithstanding a waiver, which participants usually sign prior to riding.  A qualified personal injury attorney can be very useful in analyzing the facts of a case to determine whether recovery is possible.  At Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, we have been handling New York personal injury cases for many years and are available for a free evaluation of your case now.

Recent Cases Indicate Need for Experienced Legal Counsel

In a case decided in August, 2016, the New York Appellate Division applied the principles discussed above to overturn a lower court decision, which found a person injured on a zip-line to have assumed the risk.  In Zelkowitz v Country Group, Inc. (2016 NY Slip Op 05732), the Plaintiff (“P”) and Defendant (“D”) had worked together to build their own zip-line.  D was responsible for the design and did most of the work, and P assisted with labor.  The line was attached between two trees with a height of 12 feet at the ends and 3 feet over the ground in the middle.  The two each took a test run without event.  The next day a contractor installed a platform at the beginning of the line, and P and D decided to do another test run.

D did a test run with P holding him with a safety rope to slow his initial speed which ended without incident.  However, when P went, D did not hold a rope to slow his speed, and the installed braking mechanism did not slow him sufficiently to prevent him from slamming into the tree and the end of the line.  P fell from the chair and hit a rock, suffering serious injuries to his back.  The lower court determined P had assumed the risk of this type of injury.  However, the Appellate decision overturned the lower court finding that there were sufficient issues of fact regarding the risks that were assumed and the defective nature of the braking device to warrant a trial on the merits.  As this recent case illustrates, the factual and legal argument can be complex, and expert testimony is frequently required.  An experienced personal injury attorney can help to increase your chances of success and the ability to receive monetary damages for your injuries.

Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP.

If you or a family member have been injured in a zip-line accident, the sooner you can contact our office for a free case evaluation, the sooner you begin protecting your rights to recovery.  You should not accept any settlement prior to contacting us.  Contact the skilled personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP at (516) 358-6900.

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