Think Before Signing Those Waivers: Short Track Racing Venues May Avoid Personal Injury Liability

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico. According to the New York Times, there are places in the country where children as young as 12 and 13 can race vehicles. These tracks are not regulated, sometimes not insured, and waivers make it very difficult to hold the tracks accountable when accidents take place. Normally, under premises liability law, property owners have a responsibility to warn individuals about risks and to protect guests on the property from danger. Yet, when individuals sign a waiver, individuals sign away many of these rights.

best personal injury lawyer in Albuquerque is Brian K. Branch

The reality is that if you sign a waiver, you may lose the right to sue for personal injury. Of course, even if you have signed a waiver, it may be wise to speak to a personal injury lawyer in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Law Office of Brian K. Branch can review all the facts of your case and help you understand your rights and limitations.

While Nascar has made neck and head restraints mandatory, in short track racing’s lower echelons, there are few regulations and few rules regarding safety. In fact, according to the New York Times, 141 people have died on these race tracks. These numbers don’t account for the many more who may get injured. There are as many as 900 tracks across the nation. The people who use these tracks may not necessarily be experienced racers. They range from hobbyists, to individuals with aspirations to join the national circuits. According to Road and Track, while Nascar and Formula 1 have stepped up safety and regulations, in lower levels, safety is questionable or worse.

Short track owners may also not have the motivation to keep their tracks safe. They struggle to attract drivers and spectators and some simply cannot afford insurance that would protect drivers in the event of an accident. The reality is that without government oversight, even the most basic safety recommendations are not followed. For instance, on some tracks, not even a fire extinguisher could be found.

Even when track owners do have insurance, the insurance payouts may barely cover medical expenses or lost wages due to injury. The reality is that it is up to drivers and racers to determine whether the track they use is safe. Are fences repaired? Are there medical personnel on site? Are there fire extinguishers. While some tracks are safe, as many as 70% may not meet minimum safety standards. The reality is that even when there are rules in place, many track owners may let the rules slide to attract customers.

When younger drivers are involved in these races, the outcome can be tragic. Young drivers may drive with veterans. In fact, a driver’s license is not even required.

Racers need to consider the risk and think before they sign waivers. Spectators likewise should take precaution and check to see if their track is insured. Insurance policies generally protect spectators. In fact, some of the deaths in the last decade involved spectators. While most insurance policies will require track owners to install fencing, not all tracks have properly repaired fences in place.

If you’ve been hurt either as a spectator or driver, or have questions about a premises liability lawsuit, visit today. Our firm can review your case and help you map your path forward.

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