Injured rider tries to sue Whistler… and fails

Waiver wins out in Whistler

Photo of Garett Buehler who is not involved in the incident.

A rider who was left in a wheelchair after riding at whistler has been rebuffed after trying to sue the bike park for compensation for his injuries, the Vancouver Sun reports.

Blake Jamieson crashed on the rock drop on A-Line on August 28, 2009 and was left with spinal cord injuries. The first park patroller on the scene claimed that Jamieson had attempted to pre jump the drop and caught his rear wheel before being catapulted forwards.

Jamieson previously worked as a volunteer patroller at the bike park for three years and was judged as capable of hitting double black diamond trails (A-Line is single black diamond). He said: “I had no idea that a spinal-cord injury was possible and specifically that going over the bars was a common mechanism of injury.”

Jamieson claimed that the four page waiver he signed before riding “failed to warn him of the risks involved” and that he was rushed through the process due to a queue of people waiting. He also said that nothing on the ticket alerted him that biking at the park carried a risk of injury and that he believed his risk was minimal after working as a patroller.

However, Whistler’s waiver release form was deemed to be binding and robust enough to protect the park against injured riders claiming for compensation. Justice Neena Sharma, of the B.C Supreme Court had no problem upholding it. She said: “I do not see how any adult with basic reading skills could reasonably believe he or she retained the right to sue Whistler if they were injured using the park, even if Whistler was negligent.”

Robert Kennedy, the counsel for the resort, said in an interview: “If anyone had full knowledge and understanding of the risk of the sport it was the plaintiff in this case. And yet his theory of liability is: ‘Oh, I didn’t know I could get seriously hurt.’

“For an operator such as Whistler … clearly they need some sort of protection. And that’s what happened here. The court had no problem in applying the waiver.”

Jamieson has earned a degree in Radiology since the incident.

Read more: Paralysed solicitor wins High Court case against mountain bike instructor

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