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Legal question - liability/insurance - adjustment mounting of bindings etc..

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Ok, I really don't understand the law in general sometimes. This is really astonishing to me.

When we go skiing, snowboarding or whatever, you usually sign a waiver of liability saying that you won't sue the resort or place for any accidents,death or whatever if you fall from the lifts, hurt yourself skiing, or anything else.

You sign similar stuff when you park your cars underground.

Hospital you have similar things on some surgeries and procedures.

Anyways, my point is you can sign a waiver saying that whatever I do, I won't sue you, you aren't liable for my actions.

So knowing this, why are some things not waiverable? Like for my main issue is the adjustment/mounting of ski bindings. I don't understand why you are okay saying if you fall off the lift, you won't sue them, but you can't sign something for adjusting a screw on your skis.

This also goes with some auto shops having "no customers in the back" thing, even if you say you would sign a waiver that if the car drops on you, your family won't sue the shop.

so confused.mad.gif
post #2 of 14

What matters is not what the liability form says, or even what the shop or ski area thinks the liability form means.  What matters is what the judge says the liability form means.  Skiing can be a dangerous sport, and liability cost issues have crushed some small ski areas.  In this litigious society the areas and the ski shops will do whatever is reasonable to defer unnecessary liability, and that includes using waiver forms.  When push comes to shove, a judge will ultimately decide what all the verbiage means.

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
I don't think you understood what I was asking... I don't mind liability forms, I actually welcome them because I rather be in power to make choices of my life rather than others.

I said I was asking why we can't get liability waived on certain things, yet they force you waive on other issues.

Listed example:

-Ski lift fall - liability forced waived
-Ski accident - liability waived

-adjustment to ski bindings - cannot waive liability
-entering back of a auto shop - cannot waive liability
post #4 of 14

They can, and they do.

 

 

With a garage they just don't want you in their way, I've never been to one that wouldn't let me hang in the work area, a couple even let me play with the tools.

post #5 of 14

 

   

While laws vary from state to state, as a general rule one can not release liability for negligence.   Improper adjustment of a binding is not an assumed risk by the customer (they didn't adjust it) and as such in some situations can be considered negligence.  (Which is why binding setting are recorded by the mechanic and you have to sign off on the settings when you pick up your skis (or at least should)...that way the shop has a record of what the settings were when the skis left the shop in case the setting are later changed by someone else. (Also the reason the ski patrol writes down the binding settings when someone is hurt on the mountain)

  

Same can be said about the risks associated with being in the work area of an auto shop, the premise owner owes certain duties to warn of different types dangers depending on the visitors legal status and negligence can easily arise when someone who is not supposed to be in a work area gets hurt. (Failure to warn)  Believe me, as foolish as it seems, there are lots of lawyers out there that will jump at the opportunity to file a law suit, even in questionable liability cases.   

 

 

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SLspecialist View Post

 

   

While laws vary from state to state, as a general rule one can not release liability for negligence.   Improper adjustment of a binding is not an assumed risk by the customer (they didn't adjust it) and as such in some situations can be considered negligence.  (Which is why binding setting are recorded by the mechanic and you have to sign off on the settings when you pick up your skis (or at least should)...that way the shop has a record of what the settings were when the skis left the shop in case the setting are later changed by someone else. (Also the reason the ski patrol writes down the binding settings when someone is hurt on the mountain)

  

Same can be said about the risks associated with being in the work area of an auto shop, the premise owner owes certain duties to warn of different types dangers depending on the visitors legal status and negligence can easily arise when someone who is not supposed to be in a work area gets hurt. (Failure to warn)  Believe me, as foolish as it seems, there are lots of lawyers out there that will jump at the opportunity to file a law suit, even in questionable liability cases.   

 

 


Well nothing is really stopping anyone from changing settings or using different size boots than ones calibrated for the bindings. But I don't agree by obfuscation of knowledge/information is the way to treat a customer. If anything, people should read or take some short course about the workings on their bindings to ensure they know if something is off, or a setting moved somehow either by accident or by someone tampering with it. With all the secrecy, most general population wouldn't know if the DIN was set correctly or forward pressure is too much or too little.

People are going to change their settings weather manufactures or shops tell them how to do it properly or not. That's a fact. But at least if the people knew some of what's going on, maybe they wouldn't change it or would change it with more caution.

I'm thinking the only issue is that customers would lie and basically put the fault on the manufacturer or a shop. If the customer changes settings then say they didn't, but you said they write down the settings anyways, so really I don't see an issue with explaining the workings.

Look, I modify cars for over a decade, and every car I've modified I've had sources of information, a service manual that shows how to disassemble transmissions/drive-shafts to the cam and pistons. Using the logic of ski bindings, I could really mess up the car and make it crash and causing injury or death to myself or others on the road, yet the information is still out there for anyone to use to take part or modify or fix. It doesn't make sense why this isn't the case for ski bindings, which is 1000 fold less complicated than a 6 speed transmission coupled to an all wheel drive system.

Like I said, I'm an engineer and I enjoy understanding things and tinkering with gadgets.
post #7 of 14


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlashEngineer View Post



Like I said, I'm an engineer and I enjoy understanding things and tinkering with gadgets.


Which explains why you think things should actually make sense.

post #8 of 14

 

FlashEngineer,

You are trying to look at this from a common sense or logical perspective........or worse as an engineer (no offense)… none of which really works when looking at potential legal liability. Many law suits do not make sense and are sure not logical.

 

From the perspective of a binding manufacturer, bindings are only to be mounted by a mechanic that is certified by that particular manufacturer. Once mounted, the mechanic is to set the release settings in accordance with the accepted industry standard (which in the ski industry is the German DIN standard), and based on the information provided by each individual customer (i.e. Age, weight height and skiing ability etc.) and then record the settings on the shop ticket. When a customer picks up his skis, the shop should explain how the binding operates, show the customer the DIN setting used based on the information provided, and have the customer sign the shop ticket verifying the binding settings at the time the skis were picked up.  From a legal perspective, if all of these items are performed correctly, then the shop complied with the accepted industry standard and there should be no negligence on the part of the shop and/or mechanic.  Additionally, the manufacturer will indemnify the shop and mechanic should someone file a law suit alleging the plaintiff’s injuries were cause by the bindings being negligently installed or adjusted.  

 

Of course in our litigious society none of this will stop someone from bringing a law suit, but in bringing an action for negligence, the plaintiff would have the burden of proving the shop and/or mechanic was negligent and that they deviated from the accepted industry standard.  Should a suit arise and the shop had properly adjusted the bindings based on the information provided, documented the settings and had the individual sign the shop ticket acknowledging the DIN settings, the signed shop ticket acknowledging the DIN settings is evidence that the work was done in compliance with accepted industry standards and creates a much greater burden on a plaintiff to prove negligence on the part of the shop/mechanic.  This is over simplified and defending a negligence action is not this simple, if everything is done properly, hopefully most personal injury attorneys will see there is no basis and not file suit. (Given the cost of defense it is always cheaper to prevent the action from being filed in the first place)   

 

None of this prevents an individual from mounting and adjusting their own skis, and many people do change the DIN settings on their bindings, there are no laws against this, but in doing so, an individual assumes whatever risk is involved upon themselves.  Unfortunately, this is why it makes it that much more important for a mechanic to document the settings and get the ticket signed.  

 

This is also why ski patrols are instructed to records binding settings, take statements from witnesses and if possible take photographs of the injury scene and binding settings…all of which can be important to whoever is defending a law suit alleging negligence against a shop or binding manufacturer. (Not to mention a suit against the area)   

 

In regards to an automobile repair shop, it involves completely different legal duties, since the basis for keeping customers out of the work area is based more on premise liability and not the work itself performed by the mechanic.   

 

 All of this being said, a very wise Judge once told me that regardless of the law and/or facts of a case, the only thing limiting a plaintiff in any given law suit is the imagination of his attorney…and believe me, there are some very imaginative trial lawyers out

  

 

post #9 of 14

It's a lot more simple than people make out......

 

They have a market to protect.....  The Shops.... It creates a service industry.

 

They could just throw in an instruction sheet on how to mount your skis with an included DIN chart... (there are far more dangerous self-install systems available from Ikea - Flatscreen wall mount anyone?? -  than a rail mount binding!!)

 

Liability waivers are a cover-all, but mean nothing really, they can even be used to point that the waiver proves danger was known.

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramzee View Post

It's a lot more simple than people make out......

 

They have a market to protect.....  The Shops.... It creates a service industry.

 

They could just throw in an instruction sheet on how to mount your skis with an included DIN chart... (there are far more dangerous self-install systems available from Ikea - Flatscreen wall mount anyone?? -  than a rail mount binding!!)

 

Liability waivers are a cover-all, but mean nothing really, they can even be used to point that the waiver proves danger was known.


I guess that's true, same as computer repair, electronic repair, auto repair, whatever else...

It just seems the ski industry is more secretive than other industries...
post #11 of 14

Quote: "Anyways, my point is you can sign a waiver saying that whatever I do, I won't sue you, you aren't liable for my actions."

 


 

The quote above is a common but critical misunderstanding of what a liability waiver represents.

 

Businesses asking you to sign a waiver don't care about your wrongdoing because they are not responsible in law for your own wrongdoing which causes you harm. They are only responsible in law for their wrongdoing which causes you harm -- therefore, they ask you to sign a waiver in the hopes that the courts would block you from pursuing legal compensation. The document is called a "waiver" because you agree to "waive" your right to sue (to "waive" is to surrender or forego). In the vast majority of cases, signing a liability waiver is against your own interests.

 

For example: you buy new skis and bindings and the technician at the shop where you bought them makes a critical error; or, you take your car to a mechanic to have snow tires installed and he forgets to tighten the lug nuts. Assume the result of the error is that you suffer harm. If you had signed an all-encompassing waiver, and if the court upholds that waiver, then you would be without a remedy. To be clear, this is a scenario where you were injured through no fault of your own. Being left without a remedy would be unfortunate if you suffered a broken leg and lost 6 weeks of wages because you were laid up in bed, but imagine the consequences if you suffered a catastrophic injury and couldn't look after yourself, or provide for your dependants, ever again.

 

Since the results of enforcing a liability waiver can be so harsh, many courts subject liability waivers to a high degree of scrutiny. That scrutiny often results in the waiver being thrown out as unenforceable and the injured party is then free to continue with the lawsuit.

 

I am Canadian so I can't speak to American scenarios but I suspect the same legal principles apply.

 

Nemo


Edited by nemodat - 1/8/11 at 8:49pm
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

Still confused about your last post...

 

I understand waiver is against myself, but what I'm saying is that I don't need to be 'hand-held' and treated as such so I won't have needed information to do certain things.  I'm also saying that if I sign a waiver, then they should not hesitate to hold back the information needed. 

 

A simple analogy.....

 

There is a stove which the switch to the stove is hidden and only the manufacturer knows where it is.  They won't tell me where it is in the event, I turn it on, I could burn myself or my hosue down or other people on the said stove.  They are afraid if they tell me where the switch is, that they are liable.  I'm saying just tell me it, and if they are so worried I'll sign waiver saying I won't sue them for anything that happens when I turn on the switch.  But they shouldn't withhold that information, I can decide if I want to burn myself with the stove, that's not their decision and them not telling me where the switch is, just doesn't make sense.

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

I just have to reiterate, Ramzee's post is just so true.  From all the information I've gathered on how to adjust my bindings and mount them, at least for the simple ones like my Volkl - Marker Motion ones that use a rail system, is really idiot proof.  As long as you have the DIN chart and knowledge on the forward pressure how the markings are, it's not complicated.

 

I agree it's them trying to create an industry to provide money for services. 

 

Honestly, someone changing a flat tire on the road, without proper knowledge or a torque wrench, could cause way more damage to themselves, others on the road and the said vehicles than a ski binding.

post #14 of 14

I don't think anybody disagrees that there are far more dangerous activities out there.  But the ski industry has had a relatively large number of lawsuits attempted.  Signing the waiver does not mean you can't sue.  You telling the shop that you won't sue doesn't mean anything.  The shops have these waivers because the binding manufacturers indemnify the shops in the event of a lawsuit as long as the shop follows the manufacturer's instructions.  That does include mounting and testing bindings.  If you want to do it yourself, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from doing so.  As for how to instructions from the shops, that won't happen because the indemnification agreements prohibit them from doing so.  The likely reason is that the manufacturers are trying to help the shops maintain a business flow. As stated above you are using logic to try and figure out our legal system...don't do that.  

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