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Recreational Injuries: A Guide to Understanding Your Legal Rights

Bicycle riders in the park

Recreational activities are a great way to unwind and enjoy life. But what happens when these fun-filled moments turn tragic due to unforeseen accidents? At Levin & Perconti, we are committed to helping victims of recreational injuries navigate the legal challenges and seek justice.

Recent Recreational Accidents in the News

OceanGate Expedition's Titan Submersible Accident

In a high-profile case, our partner Steve Levin recently gave an interview on WLS Talk Radio in Chicago about the tragic Titan expedition. Despite waivers signed by the participants, we contend that these waivers are not enforceable unless all true risks have been properly communicated.

In the Titan case, 35 industry experts reportedly wrote to OceanGate Expeditions, voicing safety concerns about the submersible’s capabilities to safely travel to such depths to view the Titanic wreckage. There’s also a lawsuit involving the company’s former Director of Operations, who claims to have been fired for voicing similar safety concerns. This raises serious questions about whether the company failed to disclose all relevant risks to the participants, and whether they ignored warnings that could have prevented this tragedy.

You can listen to Steve Levin’s insightful interview here.

Common Examples of Recreational Injuries

Most recreational activities come with their own set of unique risks. Different types of recreational injuries and the problems that lead to potential lawsuits include: 

  1. Bicycle Accidents: Most bicycle accidents happen when someone is negligent. This includes a drivers failing to yield the right of way or failing to look for bicyclists before making a right-hand turn. 
  2. Sports Injuries: These can result from a lack of proper training, inadequate safety measures, faulty equipment, or negligence by coaches or other team members. 
  3. Amusement Park Injuries: These can be due to malfunctioning rides, inadequate safety precautions, poor maintenance, or negligent staff.
  4. Boating Accidents: Accidents can occur due to inexperienced operators, intoxication, equipment failure, or lack of safety measures. We’ve represented victims in these cases, such as a girl injured in a boating accident
  5. Gym and Fitness Center Injuries: These often arise from defective equipment, insufficient supervision, or inadequate maintenance of the facility.
  6. Skiing and Snowboarding Accidents: These injuries can result from poorly marked trails, faulty lifts, or insufficient instruction.
  7. Hiking and Camping Injuries: Accidents can happen due to poorly maintained trails, lack of warning signs, wildlife encounters, or faulty equipment.
  8. Waterpark Injuries: These can occur due to poorly maintained facilities, inadequate safety measures, faulty slides or pools, or negligent staff.
  9. Concert and Festival Injuries: These could be due to overcrowding, lack of security, inadequate emergency measures, or structural failures. We’ve seen this happen at Astroworld Festival in Houston, when a lack of crowd control and security led to injuries and death.
  10. Hunting Accidents: When a serene hunting trip turns tragic due to accidental shootings, falling from tree stands, or equipment malfunction, the liability may lie with negligent hunters, equipment manufacturers, or landowners.
  11. Skydiving Injuries: A thrilling skydive can quickly turn perilous due to equipment failure, insufficient training, or negligence of the skydiving operator.
  12. Swimming and Diving Accidents: These can occur due to unmarked water depths, improper supervision, or faulty equipment. In most swimming pool accident cases, the property owner is liable, whether the pool is public or private. In the case of a public swimming pool, a municipality may be the liable party.
  13. Horseback Riding Injuries: Accidents can happen due to an ill-trained horse, faulty equipment, or lack of adequate supervision.
  14. Rock Climbing Accidents: These can result from equipment failure, lack of safety instructions, or poorly maintained facilities.
  15. Trampoline Injuries: Poorly maintained trampolines or lack of proper supervision can lead to serious injuries.
  16. Martial Arts Injuries: These can occur due to excessive force, lack of protective gear, or poor supervision.
  17. Skateboarding Accidents: Accidents can happen due to defective skateboards, poorly maintained skate parks, or negligent motorists.
  18. Motor Racing Injuries: High-speed thrills can lead to serious injuries due to vehicle malfunctions, inadequate safety measures, or operator negligence.
  19. Scuba Diving Accidents: These can result from equipment failure, insufficient training, or dangerous diving conditions.
  20. Ziplining Injuries: High-altitude fun can turn dangerous due to equipment failure, lack of safety instructions, or poorly maintained facilities.
  21. Paintballing Injuries: These can occur due to faulty equipment, lack of safety gear, or negligence of other participants.
  22. Drone Mishaps: Injuries can happen due to drone malfunctions, operator negligence, or failure to adhere to FAA guidelines.
  23. Surfing Accidents: These can result from powerful waves, board malfunctions, or lack of safety measures.
  24. Jet Ski Accidents: High-speed water fun can quickly turn dangerous due to reckless driving, equipment malfunction, or a lack of safety measures.
  25. ATV Accidents: Off-roading can be thrilling, but ATV accidents can happen due to reckless driving, poor trail maintenance, or equipment failure.
  26. Snowmobile Accidents: These can occur due to operator negligence, faulty equipment, or poor trail conditions.
  27. Parasailing Accidents: These can result from equipment failure, operator negligence, or unsafe weather conditions.
  28. Hot Air Balloon Accidents: These can happen due to equipment failure, operator negligence, or poor weather assessment.
  29. Bungee Jumping Accidents: A high-adrenaline bungee jump can turn disastrous due to equipment failure, operator negligence, or lack of safety measures.
  30. Rodeo Injuries: These can occur due to aggressive animals, lack of safety measures, or operator negligence.
  31. Race Marathon Injuries: Injuries can happen due to poorly organized races, inadequate medical support, or unmarked hazards. 
  32. Ice Skating Injuries: Accidents can occur due to negligence, such as lack of proper supervision or failure to maintain a safe skating surface. Negligence in ice skating can lead to serious injuries, ranging from fractures and sprains to head and spinal cord injuries.
Boating in Chicago

Common Defenses to Recreational Injuries

Defendants often raise several defenses in recreational injury cases, such as waivers of liability, assumption of risk, comparative negligence, and the statute of limitations. At Levin & Perconti, we know how to counter these defenses and fight for your rights.

Our Successful Case Results for Recreational Injury Victims

We pride ourselves on our track record of upholding justice for recreational injury victims.

  • We currently represent a minor who fell from a rock climbing wall at Navy Pier. Despite signing a waiver, the courts upheld our contention that a minor cannot waive his rights.
  • We successfully recovered a $600K settlement for an 8-year-old girl struck by a boat because the driver negligently failed to keep a lookout and maintain a safe speed.
  • We currently represent 3 individuals who were shot and seriously injured but survived the Highland Park 4th of July mass shooting in July of 2022.
  • We currently represent an individual in a wrongful death swimming accident involving claims that our client drowned because lifeguard supervision and response was not adequate. Our client was motionless in the pool for nearly ten minutes before they took him/her out of the water and initiated CPR and attempted to use an AED which malfunctioned/was not operable. This case is still pending.
  • We currently represent an individual who was playing bocce ball on a high rise terrace where he/she was a tenant. A bocce ball was dropped onto the porcelain paver that surrounded the bocce ball court, breaking the paver that his/her foot stepped into causing serious tendon/ligament injuries to his/her foot. Case is still pending.
  • We successfully settled $265,000 in a pedestrian/bicycle accident case. The plaintiff was pedestrian walking through crosswalk and was struck by bicyclist who proceeded through intersection without stopping. Plaintiff suffered multiple fractures in wrist and arm requiring surgery.
  • We successfully handled a playground case where 8 year old boy tripped over a large screw that protruded from the wooden barrier that enclosed the playground.
  • We successfully settled $90,000 for our client who was riding his bike on the Lake Shore Drive bike path and a construction gate was left open. It was dark and our client didn’t realize the gate should have been closed and continued on the path and went into the construction zone with a 12 inch drop off in cement and flipped over his handlebars.
  • We currently represent a client an individual who was working out at West Loop Athletic Club when the cord on the weight machine snapped and a 180lb weight dropped on his head splitting it open.
  • We currently represent a 7 year-old girl who was injured at a bounce house facility when she was improperly supervised on an inflatable and broke her arm.

We’ve also been at the forefront of numerous bicycle accident cases, fighting for cyclists who were struck by automobiles while lawfully riding on streets in the Chicagoland area. In one case, we successfully recovered a $3.8M settlement on behalf of a 61-year-old man who was struck by a vehicle while cycling in Lake County.

At Levin & Perconti, we believe in your right to safety and justice. If you or a loved one has suffered a recreational injury, don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation.

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Steven M Levin

Steven M. Levin

Founder and Senior Partner
Since 1976, Steve Levin has been dedicated to helping people injured by others’ negligence. He is one of the first attorneys in the U.S. to prosecute nursing homes for abuse and negligence. He's also helped write new legislation that governs the operation of nursing homes, including the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. Moreover, Levin & Perconti has obtained the top three jury verdicts in nursing home negligence cases in Illinois.