Waivers In Montana

Waivers In Montana

I come from a long line of worriers. Both my grandmothers were champions at it, and I began to worry young. I love my job, but it does very little to help my tendency to fret. Professionally, I witness firsthand the fallout from the times things that “usually” don’t hurt people, do hurt them and change their (and their family’s) lives forever.

So, I find myself increasingly looking at life in terms of harms and insurance. It’s kind of crazy, but, when I happen to be riding in a car with a scary driver, my mind follows the same well-worn path: after throwing up a quick prayer, I mentally review our family’s auto insurance limits. What’s our UIM, again? Would it be enough get both our kids through college if I were to die?

Another example: when I heard that my church was buying a building that was on a septic system, my first question was, “what kind of septic access is there?” Followed closely by, “is there a kid-catcher, and where is the access located?” (The answers to these questions weren’t good, mind you, and after the congregation bought the building, a concerned attendee donated money specifically for the installation of kid-catchers).

What I’m getting at here is, this weekend, my husband will be participating in the Montana Spartan Race. I’m stoked for him. I’m jealous that my own bum neck is keeping me out of the fray. But, as he’s been training real hard and as I’ve been contemplating how I’m gonna get our double-jogging stroller close enough to the obstacles to memorialize the whole thing, my second nature is kicking in.

You see, as the race approaches, we’ve been hearing rumors about the obstacles. Supposedly, it’s fairly common for the Spartan people to electrocute racers. The end is always lined up with beefy-dudes equipped with jousters to beat the heck out of finishers. But, what really has me concerned is the rumor of a THIRTY FOOT climbing rope. Muddy and swaying in the breeze.

Falling off that could kill a person. And, not that I think my husband would fall off (he’s trained hard and he’s tough), I’ve seen less likely problems result in serious issues for clients, so … After asking myself whether we carry enough life insurance on my husband, I spent a goodly portion of Friday afternoon researching whether the “sign your life away” waiver (or “exculpatory clause” for those of you who’d like to know the technical term) he had to sign would actually be enforceable in Montana.

Much to my relief, it is not. Well, more than likely, not — contracts that try to excuse an entity from its own negligence are against public policy here in Montana.

Maybe I’ll be able to sleep the night before the race now.

Rebecca J. Rutz

Becky’s primary focus at Grizzly Law is personal injury, ranging from auto accidents to slip and falls and medical malpractice. However, Becky also enjoys assisting people with their estate planning and has also represented homeowner’s associations with their various legal needs.