Friday, September 11, 2009

Lawyers. Kill. All.

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." (William Shakespeare, Henry VI (Part 2))

Seldom have wiser words been spoken, though I might settle for closing 80% of the nation's law schools.

Not so long ago I posted an update on a Florida trial determining whether triathlon organizers were liable for an Ironman swimmer's death (the court said they weren't.)

But now, as I watch my server logs for search phrases directing visitors to Life Is A Tri, I see searches like "how many ironman triathlon deaths." Someone's building a case for something. And as I observe the domains behind the searches, I see a bunch of damn law firms.

True, they could be working for the defense, but I doubt it. More likely they're plaintiff's attorneys preparing additional suits against triathlon organizers and everybody else in sight.

I've met The Nanny State and her initials are J.D. - Juris Doctor.

If you as a triathlete aren't bothered by this trend, you haven't observed first-hand what malpractice suits and trial lawyers are doing to other industries like health care. Let's speculate a moment, shall we?

Expect to see race entrance fees triple.

Expect to sign 10 page-long liability waivers filled with impenetrable legalese. Buried in there will be subtle language adding YOU, dear racer, to the list of possible defendants.

"Let's see Mr. Vertical Man. Can you PROVE that you weren't in close proximity to the struggling swimmer? Can you PROVE you didn't cause his panic attack leading to his stroke? Umm-hmm, I thought not! Pay up, bucko!"

Expect to be required to submit a physician's clearance to race, not to hold harmless the race organizers, but to give the trial lawyers someone else to sue - your physician.

Expect to be required to submit a "bike safety certificate" to race, not to hold harmless the race organizers but, again, to give the trial lawyers someone else to sue - your bike shop.

Expect to be required to submit indemnification documents from ALL your gear manufacturers - bike wheels, wetsuits, running shoes, water bottles, just in case one of them might, seemingly, allegedly, someday play some inconsequential role in an accident...someone else to sue. Get the picture yet?

Expect your favorite race's host community to withdraw the welcome mat as legal burdens skyrocket and the tourism benefits are overwhelmed by insurance and legal costs. Just like many communities have closed playgrounds and pools deemed as too risky.

Ol' Billy Boy Bard had it right.

1 comment:

triblog carol said...

I don't like this trend! I like racing, and I am happy to take the risks associated with racing. If I die on a race course, know that I have died happy! Don't all triathletes feel that way?