A recent demolition derby event turned deadly for one of the drivers. Shawn Rivers, 43, of Castleton, New York, was killed while racing a Winnebago at the Lebanon Valley Speedway. Rivers was participating in the annual “Eve of Destruction” event at the Speedway, driving a motorhome around the track in the event featuring a number of different vehicle stunts. The race during which Rivers was fatally injured was a race aimed at disabling an RV. At one point, at approximately 10 p.m., Rivers was deliberately rammed by another driver, Frank Sorrento of Rensselaer, which led the Winnebago to overturn and collapse in on Rivers. Rivers was taken to an Albany hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
In a subsequent investigation of the crash, New York State Police have discovered that Rivers’ Winnebago was not equipped with a roll cage. Despite the fact that Rivers wore a helmet, he suffered massive head trauma. In events where a distinct chance of injury exists, such as a demolition derby, participants will likely be found to have “assumed a risk,” both implicitly and explicitly. What this means is that, if you knowingly participate in an inherently dangerous activity, a court will find that you accepted a high chance that some harm could befall you (i.e., an implicit assumption of the risk), and, most likely, the organizers of such a dangerous event had you sign a waiver of your right to sue, should you get hurt (i.e., an explicit assumption of the risk). However, the organizers still bear some responsibility to take measures to make such an event as safe as possible, and there are circumstances under which the organizers could be held liable if an injured person or his heirs were to sue them. For example, if the assumption of risk was made under the belief that the organizers would make the vehicle racers drive as safe as they could, such as by installing a roll cage, but the organizers neglected to take those basic steps, then a court could find that they are at least partially financially responsible for any resulting injuries.
No one is prepared for the death of a loved one in a car accident. The medical and burial expenses, coupled with the lost income or support, can become a heavy burden at a time of immense grief. If you have lost someone in an accident, find skilled attorneys who can take on the burden of pursuing any legal claim you may have, so that you can focus on healing. Contact the compassionate Kingston personal injury and car accident attorneys at Basch & Keegan for a free consultation on your claims, at 845-338-8884.