Outdoor Recreation Injuries: Determining Who is at Fault

Outdoor event

Sometimes you just need a little fresh air. Nature can positively impact both your physical and mental health and outdoor activities can prove to be a lot of fun. However, while there are a lot of wonderful aspects to engaging in outdoor adventures, sometimes accidents happen. Whether you are engaging in a recreational activity such as biking, camping, hiking, or anything in between, there is an inherent risk of injury. So, what happens when you are injured while participating in such an activity? How do you determine fault?

Assumption of Risk

When someone engages in an outdoor activity, there is a presumption that the individual understands the risks and agrees to participate anyway. For instance, in activities like rock climbing, skiing, or rafting, individuals usually sign liability waivers to recognize the danger. These waivers serve to potentially reduce the liability of operators and organizers in the event that someone is injured. However, it’s important to note that not all waivers provide absolute protection, as exceptions might come into play when negligence or misconduct is a factor.


Negligence may occur when a party doesn’t meet the expected standard of care, resulting in an injury. For example, if a guide neglects to offer adequate safety instructions during a group hike, or if a rental company doesn’t properly maintain their equipment, negligence may be a factor. Proving negligence requires demonstrating that the responsible party breached their duty of care, directly causing the injury.

Premises Liability

Premises liability becomes relevant when someone is invited onto and is injured on another person’s property. Property owners have a duty to ensure their premises are reasonably safe. For instance, if you’re injured due to a dangerous situation on a hiking trail or campsite, the property owner or manager could potentially be held liable.

Product Liability

Defective equipment or gear can also contribute to outdoor recreational injuries. If a product’s design, manufacturing, or labeling is flawed and causes harm, the manufacturer or distributor could be held liable. For instance, a malfunctioning bike brake or a faulty life jacket could lead to serious accidents and subsequent injuries.

Understanding liability under the law can help you make informed decisions and take appropriate precautions. 

Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC Can Help Those in VA Who Have Been Injured Due to Negligence

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury during outdoor activities due to the negligence or recklessness of another party, a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney can help. It’s important that you seek legal assistance as soon as possible so that an attorney can help find and preserve evidence in order to build your case. 

At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, we have experience with accidents caused by negligence. We understand how such an accident can negatively impact your life and will fight to get you the compensation that you deserve. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!

Posted in: Personal Injury