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Title: Track is denying responsibility for my injuries

Date: 23 February 2012

Question

Track denying responsibility for my injuries

I was lucky not to be killed last summer in a track day organised by a well known company. My back was broken in 3 places and it will never be normal with constant aching and the possibility of spinal fusion surgery. The investigation showed I hit debris on the track from a previous race that they had not cleared. Their lawyers have told mine that because I participated in a dangerous activity I cannot claim as I accepted that it was dangerous. I did not sign anything and would not have done! What should I do?

Jon Hardcastle, Salford

Answer

The Defendant’s solicitor appears to be relying on a defence called volenti non fit injuria which can be a complete defence when it applies. It seeks to argue that a person who volunteers to take a risk should not be entitled to claim should a risk manifest itself and result in injury. For example a boxer who is hit on the nose in a fight cannot claim for that injury as he has effectively consented to being hit on the nose. Mere knowledge of the risk of injury is not enough. Such a defence will not even get off the ground unless there is an agreement to waive any claim for negligence. The track day company owed you a duty of care which in my view (but a racing/track day expert may be required) they breached by not ensuring the track was safe for riders. I would pursue the claim.

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