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What Are the Legal Aspects of a Motorsports Car Crash?

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Vehicular accidents are expected, if not common, in all motorsports. It’s difficult to admit, but part of the excitement of motorsports come from the inherent danger that these events present to participants. In fact, in some instances, these accidents even claim the lives of racers. In the same manner that injuries are expected in full-contact sports, vehicular accidents are an inherent danger to motorsports. The question we’d like to answer is where the boundary lies between an inherent danger and a criminal act.

Courts and Sports

Courts have long decreed that anybody who participates in a sport knowingly and willfully assumes the dangers that are inherent to that sport. In doing so, it is also understood that the legal parameters that govern normal scenarios will not apply in these events. Certain actions, such as striking another participant, or causing a car accident, will not create liability because these are consequences that arise naturally by participating in the sport.

Does This Mean That Motorsports Are Lawless?

The obvious answer is no. Even when the legal parameters are lenient in these events, this leniency only applies if the injuries sustained were a result of the normal course of the sport. For example, while you will be sued for causing a car accident on a public road, you cannot be held liable for causing a pile-up on a race track because these accidents are expected.

In fact, each racing team has a budget for repairing and replacing their damaged race cars. It’s rare that a racing team would sue another team for causing damage to their property.

The Line in the Sand

This leniency doesn’t mean that racers may cause accidents without fear of legal consequences. In fact, in 2018, NASCAR driver, Tony Stewart was charged with wrongful death by the parents of Kevin Ward, Jr. wherein they claimed that the fatal crash was a result of the reckless driving of Tony Stewart. While the case prospered into a lawsuit, it was later dismissed by the judge as both parties arrived at a settlement.

The conditions of this settlement are unknown, but what is known is that the law provides a distinction that if an injury is caused by behavior that is beyond racing norms, and is in violation of racing rules, the erring party may be held liable in a court of law.

A prime example of such behavior is Romano Fenati, a motorcycle racer who rode beside a rival and tugged on the rival’s brake paddle in an attempt to cause the rider to crash. This attempt to sabotage a rival rider happened while both Fenati and his rival were riding at speeds of 140mph, a speed that would have easily led to a death, had the rival crashed.

While it’s true that the law takes a more lenient approach towards sports-related injuries, it’s still important that you consult car accident specialists like this Bradenton Car Accident Lawyer to help you determine if the circumstances of your accident warrants a lawsuit. Injuries are often expensive to treat, and some of them may even have permanent, life-altering effects. You should never shy away from seeking justice.

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