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Why Outdoor Adventure Guides Need Specialized Personal Liability Coverage
You have a passion for an outdoor adventure activity such as kayaking, rafting, rock climbing, bushwhacking, orienteering, or mountaineering. Perhaps you teach and lead groups free of charge, or do it as a side business. You may even have employees. In any case, you’re doing what you love and are teaching others who share your passion. If you’re supporting yourself in this way, then congratulations on accomplishing what most people dream about but few ever achieve.
Just as you would make every effort to mitigate the physical risks associated with your adventure activity, so should you mitigate your liability risks. Murphy’s law was coined for a reason. Things can and do go wrong, especially in an outdoor adventure setting with neophytes under your care. Nature is unpredictable in many ways, as are people. A pop-up thunder storm in the mountains, rock fall, a snake bite, a rock turning underfoot, a capsizing kayak, or a fall from a horse — the number of accident scenarios that cause serious injury is endless.
Complicating matters is the fact that people don’t always listen when they should, or fail to act on what you tell them. And that sums it up: when nature’s unpredictability combines with human foibles, accidents are always possible. In fact, it’s just a matter of time, especially when you constantly deal with unfamiliar people.
In addition to the mistakes made by the people under your care, there’s the matter of those you employ. Are they every bit as responsible, competent, and skilled as you? Are they similarly motivated? Given they aren’t making as much money as you, and aren’t as vulnerable to litigation, they may not possess your intense motivation.
People sue for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s fairly straightforward: they can’t afford the medical costs because they’re underinsured, or the injury has a lasting or life altering impact. Sometimes it’s a misperception of the facts or of your diligence or competence. In the end, if the person wants to sue and his or her lawyer thinks there’s a good case against you, then a lawsuit will happen. A waiver of liability won’t necessarily shield you.
The risk of litigation is just as real and potentially life altering as the physical risks of your adventure activity. Without specialized personal liability coverage, your way of life can drastically change for the worse. If you have liability gaps, don’t hesitate to contact us with your concerns.