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    Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

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    Echoes

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    Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  Echoes on Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:33 pm

    It's come to my attention, through recent discussions with some members of the NSW community and my parents, there are inherent legal liabilities and a duty of care (for the younger participants) involved when being an organiser of a Nerf War. There is a responsibility upon the organiser to ensure that the event runs safely and that no participants are injured. But what if things don't go that way? What if someone is seriously injured. That's where the law comes in...

    If someone were to fall and break their arm at an event that I have organised, I can be sued, can I not? For damages, medical bill, whatever else... In a Nerf War, there are many hazards that pose a threat to a participant's well being; darts, terrain, blasters, and other participants. And I would be responsible for all of them.

    I'd just like to know people's thoughts on these issues. Because really, if a younger participant got injured at one of my events, I've no doubt that the parents would be knocking down my door with a lawsuit. That's something I don't want.
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    SnowDragon

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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  SnowDragon on Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:58 pm

    As far as I'm aware, you're set. These people come to the events of their own will, play of their own will, and you as an 'organiser' are merely the one with them loudest voice setting up the teams. It'd be like trying to sue a supermarket because you dropped a carton of soft drinks on your foot because you have buttery fingers.
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    Echoes

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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  Echoes on Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:04 pm

    SnowDragon wrote:As far as I'm aware, you're set. These people come to the events of their own will, play of their own will, and you as an 'organiser' are merely the one with them loudest voice setting up the teams. It'd be like trying to sue a supermarket because you dropped a carton of soft drinks on your foot because you have buttery fingers.

    Lol, my dad got sued because some idiot woman walked through his stall in the markets and tripped on something in a place she wasn't meant to be. She won that case. Go figure -.-

    My point is, the law looks after the masses. If someone were to get hurt an event that I organised (because remember, they would not have gotten hurt if the event wasn't organised), then I'm at fault.

    Law is ridiculous lol.
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    Synergie

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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  Synergie on Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:25 pm

    It is the issues that Echoes has spoken of that also prompted my parents and I to conclude I too, cannot host Nerf events anymore as I announced a little over a month ago. Public liability in this day and age has become a get rich quick scheme for alot of people who have won cases on silly technicalities when it was probably their own negligence that brought about their misfortune/accident.
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    clunk07
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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  clunk07 on Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:45 pm

    As far as I'm aware, it only becomes a PL issue if it's part of a club that requires membership, or if you are profiting from the event.

    To be on the safe side, why not print out a discalimer, and get all participants to sign...

    Cheers,


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    littlebro05
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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  littlebro05 on Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:29 am

    I don't know. However, if someone trips over and breaks their arm. In my case, they would sue Brisbane City Council who looks after the park.

    In adelaide last year, someone dislocated their knee at a war in a high school. He would of sued the high school, not the organiser. Although if he sued the high school, it would of been all over for them for playing at that school.

    I just do it anyway, no fear, and hope for the best.
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    Jeo

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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  Jeo on Fri Jul 29, 2011 2:39 am

    Even if there is no club, no membership and nothing official in place, the law still views you as responsible as an organiser. The difference lies between say a group of friends socially playing footy in a park, and the fact that there is quite obviously an organiser for you events. Yes, if you're playing in a public park the individual could choose to sue the council, but then the council could choose to sue you. Liability waivers are worthless as you can't sign your rights away.

    Basically if you choose to run an event, it's at your own risk. I always take precautions at events I run to ensure they run as safely as possible, but at the end of the day if things go horribly wrong, I'm responsible. I don't enjoy that, but I feel it's a low enough risk that I'm not that concerned about it.

    Back when I was with HvZ@ANU we had it much easier as the Student Union covered out public liability insurance for us. All we had to do was ensure that everyone was a current member of the club and the university would back us. We had many a discussion with the university's legal team on this subject. Public liability law is a crock.
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    littlebro05
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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  littlebro05 on Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:11 am

    Ah man that's sucks! Oh well, no 'uneventful' things happened so far. The only thing I'm worried about REALLY is the teeth. Here in SA, Melb and Bris (not everyone) we like to use OP blasters. Teeth is the thing I'm worried about.

    So far we've only had two teeth incidents. One was from inf0rm3r at the very start of the big war. Another one, was from mavrick man, he got a shot from pointblank. Fortunately they weren't BBLS but just lotsa springs LS, although now I encourage people to cover their faces with a cloth or facemasks.

    Facemasks isn't that big of a deal so far. If people see you wearing one and playing with Nerf Blasters... well I have found that most people will laugh at you, thus we keep our blasters brightly coloured.

    For someone to sue you because they tripped over and dislocated their arm would be VERY disheartful though. If that ever happens, I'd just ban that player from ever coming to our events again... not that the player would though.
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    royal86

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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  royal86 on Fri Jul 29, 2011 4:35 am

    TL;DR ^^

    Australia/n's is/are too PC.

    Harden The **** Up Australia.

    Too many people want to try to make a quick buck and not hold any responsibility should they suffer an unfortunate accident.

    Everyday you walk out the front door will never gaurantee (sp) you'll return in one peice.

    Could go on about it but that's my $0.02
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    Joey

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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  Joey on Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:12 am

    Basically lawyers can (and will) go after anyone who they think they can get money out of. In a world where you can break into someone's house, trip on a skateboard and sue the house owners no-one is safe.

    The thing is as you have no money the lawyers probably wouldn't bother. There is no point suing someone for money they don't have, it is much easier to target a business or even better an entity attached to an insurance company. Though you can never be sure.

    Oh and as for a disclaimer/waiver, it means sweet <Censored> all. You cant sign away your rights. If they can prove that harm was caused by your negligence in court nothing that was signed could be used to defend you.



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    clunk07
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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  clunk07 on Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:10 am

    No, you're right, you can't sign your rights away. But, you can sign a disclaimer that will get the Organiser off the hook in the event of an injury not directly caused by them. I really couldn't be bothered going in to it, as I'm sure a lawyer would give much more accurate advice.

    Also, PL insurance, cheap as chips. $10 million cover for around $800 per year, if you're prepared to look for it.

    If it's that big of a concern, maybe the insurance is a viable option. Alot of insurance company's even allow you to pay per month etc etc.

    Cheers,


    Last edited by clunk07 on Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:14 am; edited 1 time in total


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    Swatsonia

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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  Swatsonia on Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:25 am

    Insurance, however, would be a whole other kettle of fish.
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    lefty

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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  lefty on Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:13 am

    If you have nothing to take it's unlikely you will be sued. As experience from the construction industry tells me the primary contractor or top level is the one usually pursued first. In this case it would be parks and gardens because they have the insurance to cover a law suit. It is not worth the costs to sue someone that will pay $10 a week to a plaintive.
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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  clunk07 on Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:16 am

    lefty wrote:If you have nothing to take it's unlikely you will be sued. As experience from the construction industry tells me the primary contractor or top level is the one usually pursued first. In this case it would be parks and gardens because they have the insurance to cover a law suit. It is not worth the costs to sue someone that will pay $10 a week to a plaintive.


    And, more often than not, it would be the person who fired the dart that caused the injury, that would be pursued first, before the organiser, if an individual was sued, rather than the council.

    Cheers,


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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  lefty on Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:53 am

    clunk07 wrote:
    lefty wrote:If you have nothing to take it's unlikely you will be sued. As experience from the construction industry tells me the primary contractor or top level is the one usually pursued first. In this case it would be parks and gardens because they have the insurance to cover a law suit. It is not worth the costs to sue someone that will pay $10 a week to a plaintive.


    And, more often than not, it would be the person who fired the dart that caused the injury, that would be pursued first, before the organiser, if an individual was sued, rather than the council.

    Cheers,

    Not usually, may be through a small claims court or similar, the fish a solicitor wants to hook is the top dog who is insured and probably willing to settle before a nasty bad publicity court case. So the council would most likely be the one in the firing line. While our war organisers have a bright future, they have no real assets to take at the moment.
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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  clunk07 on Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:41 pm

    Sorry, maybe I wasn't clear.

    I said that if an individual had action taken against them. Obviously, a corporation/governing body would be the original target, as mentioned at the end of my post. Been a long day...

    Scenario's:

    person x is shot by person y and is badly injured. Person x wouldn't be able to sue council, but would be able to seek compensation from person y (irrespective of outcome, that is person x's rights).

    person x trips over park equipment etc whilst Nerfing. Person x would be able to sue council for compensation.

    person x injures themselves on man-made cover erected by organiser. Person x would be able to sue the organiser.

    Honestly, I think it's a load of crap. If you get hurt, deal with it. This country is breeding softc%$k's in my opinion. But, that's our legal system.

    Now, also, I'm not saying that anybody seeking compensation would be victorious, just that they are able to seek it through legal proceedings.

    This is roughly how my solicitor has explained it to me.

    Easiest solution, look in to public liability insurance, and take an average of the amount of attendee's and amount of war's per year, and charge attendance accordingly to cover the costs. I realise it's not that simple with funding etc, but it's the only way you're guaranteed to avoid legal action in the event of an incident.

    Cheers,


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    Echoes

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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  Echoes on Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:35 pm

    While I don't mean anything by it you make the dangerous assumption that war organisers don't have anything in their name.

    I'm reading all the points in this thread and they're very interesting. I hope it's gotten the community thinking.
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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  clunk07 on Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:34 pm

    If anything mate, it should help player's realise why there are limitations on blaster's, and why there are minimum engagement distances.

    If nothing else, it should assist with attendee's conforming with the rule-set.

    Cheers,


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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  inf0rm3r on Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:01 am

    I've looked into this heavily and Clunk and Lefty are on the right track. There are specific things which can be placed on a form which is required to be signed to release the organisers and the persons/organizations owning the property the event is run on.

    Generally if you write a good form and get it looked at properly from someone in the legal department you'll be fine, I'm looking more into it and seeing how paintball type events get off the hook here. Paintball is in a way even worse to legally cover than what we have to deal with, yet they've never been sued and you hear all the time of people not wearing their proper gear etc there and even taking off their face protection because it fogs up.

    You have to remember these silly cases are pretty isolated and any Judge who looks at someone trying to sue someone else for not wearing safety glasses when it's clearly written on a disclaimer will throw it out the door faster than it came in.

    Of course there are ways they will try to make you negligent. I.e glasses fell off etc. But I'm planning on getting glasses with head straps around the back which won't come off and they'll be mandatory at events I run.

    All in all it's one in a million for these types of things to happen. I try to meet everyone which comes to anything I attend or have any involvement with running to get to know them. If I ever pick up anyone I think will sue us for their own stupidity I'll get rid of them.

    Be Careful and use common sense which I'm aware isn't so common anymore. Cover your bases and enforce safety and you'll be fine.

    It's also a good idea to video events. This way you can pick out any shit head who wants to not wear their goggles/glasses. Nothing better than video evidence in any situation.
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    mister_elliott

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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  mister_elliott on Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:51 am

    Regarding situations where equipment might fall off i think there really ought to be universally recognised cease-fire rules. Like at a rifle range, if someone calls or signals cease-fire everyone ought to stop instantly and figures out what's going on after the fact.

    Similarly I know there have been plenty of close calls with passers by and i don't think we as a community are addressing those issues appropriately.

    I think the main legal threat to nerfing is risk from passers by.
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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  dandaldaks on Tue Aug 02, 2011 6:06 am

    I will make a terms and conditions and get everyone to sign it, by the way one quick question, Why would you sue a friend ??? we are all friends having a good time in the park.
    None the less I will put a terms and conditions on my war threads for all of you to agree by coming to that specific war.
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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  mister_elliott on Tue Aug 02, 2011 6:30 am

    dandaldaks wrote:I will make a terms and conditions and get everyone to sign it, by the way one quick question, Why would you sue a friend ??? we are all friends having a good time in the park.

    It's not so much the regulars we should watch out for, since they're part of the crew and understand their responsibilities, rather it's the immature newbies (not saying that all newcomers are immature) that don't play by the rules and flout safety regulations, and then on top of those kinds of folk you have people who wander through.
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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  Arkham on Tue Aug 02, 2011 6:46 am

    You can make people sign what ever you want unless you no what laws it pertains to it dont mean squat it just a piece of paper.
    The OSH&E of this is subject it would take 4 year to explain it all.

    Plus if your firing modded darts and blasters which is against Hasbro advice it nullifies everything cause you went against the instruction on the blaster.
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    238232

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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  238232 on Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:45 am

    mister_elliott wrote:
    It's not so much the regulars we should watch out for, since they're part of the crew and understand their responsibilities, rather it's the immature newbies (not saying that all newcomers are immature) that don't play by the rules and flout safety regulations, and then on top of those kinds of folk you have people who wander through.

    +1 on this. Also, for all the under 18s, while they may not sue their parents sure as hell might. Remember, you're under 18 and can't legally think or make decisions like this for yourself .
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    Echoes

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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  Echoes on Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:53 am

    mister_elliott wrote: I think the main legal threat to nerfing is risk from passers by.

    We indeed have a cease fire rule, when a member of the public walks onto our playing field. We radio it between the two team captains/referees, who relay the message to the rest of their teams. It was highly successful, as most players are very wary of passers by.

    dandaldaks wrote:I will make a terms and conditions and get everyone to sign it, by the way one quick question, Why would you sue a friend ??? we are all friends having a good time in the park.
    None the less I will put a terms and conditions on my war threads for all of you to agree by coming to that specific war.

    Terms and conditions are all good... but they won't keep you safe. As a minor, Dan, I think you'll be safe-ish from this legal liability garbage.

    But when you say "we're all friends", your parents are not my friends (I've met your parents and they're great people. That comment was not directed at you personally, but as a general blanket statement. More often than not, if a child is injured playing with a bunch of 18+ young adults, the parents' lawyers will be called.)

    Arkham wrote:Plus if your firing modded darts and blasters which is against Hasbro advice it nullifies everything cause you went against the instruction on the blaster.

    That's absolutely correct. Modification will only work against us, though this is only a problem if someone gets shot in the eye. That's not really one of my concerns, because that's why we put such a heavy emphasis on eye protection.

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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  mister_elliott on Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:22 am

    238232 wrote:+1 on this. Also, for all the under 18s, while they may not sue their parents sure as hell might. Remember, you're under 18 and can't legally think or make decisions like this for yourself .

    Yuck parental permission slips.
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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  dandaldaks on Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:39 am

    HERPEN DERPEN to all parents with lawyers on speed dial.
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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  clunk07 on Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:23 pm

    dandaldaks wrote: HERPEN DERPEN to all parents with lawyers on speed dial.

    You fail to realise that alot of people in the situation with an injured child through someone's negligence, only seek compensation for medical expences etc. Private health isn't cheap mate.

    And weigh this up... either spend 10 days waiting for a jaw reconstruction through the public system, or pay $10k to have it repaired almost immediately. I can guarantee that if it was my daughter hurt through someone's negligence, I'd be out for compensation as well (if not blood...). Admittedly, I'd be a bit more thorough than to lump it on the organiser of any event, unless they were responsible for the negligent act.

    Cheers,


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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  dandaldaks on Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:48 pm

    What has this world degraded to......everyone is all so selfish I would never file a law suit against anyone unless they were to physically assualt me, even then I would only get enough money to pay for the injury.

    Any way, all those I have encountered have been very nice so we are all cool
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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  clunk07 on Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:58 pm

    dandaldaks wrote:What has this world degraded to......everyone is all so selfish I would never file a law suit against anyone unless they were to physically assualt me, even then I would only get enough money to pay for the injury.

    Any way, all those I have encountered have been very nice so we are all cool

    You have much to learn grasshopper...

    Just for example, what if you had your car serviced, and the mechanic forgot to re-attach the brake line, you crashed, and ended up in a wheel-chair for the rest of your life.... Public liability insurance is there for a reason.

    Cheers,


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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  Echoes on Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:00 pm

    You're scaring the poor kid Clunk
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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  dandaldaks on Thu Aug 04, 2011 3:31 am

    clunk07 wrote:
    dandaldaks wrote:What has this world degraded to......everyone is all so selfish I would never file a law suit against anyone unless they were to physically assualt me, even then I would only get enough money to pay for the injury.

    Any way, all those I have encountered have been very nice so we are all cool

    You have much to learn grasshopper...

    Just for example, what if you had your car serviced, and the mechanic forgot to re-attach the brake line, you crashed, and ended up in a wheel-chair for the rest of your life.... Public liability insurance is there for a reason.

    Cheers,

    You are exactly correct Clunk,
    I would sue the pants off that mechanic but its because his incomptence has led to my demise, in a nerf war we, the organisers, are not doing anything to obtain profit via formal services like a vehicle mechanic, since all trades are just the permanent borrowing of items.
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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  clunk07 on Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:01 am

    All I'm trying to do is highlight scenario's that may befall organiser's, so they can cover their ass.

    The negligence of any tradesman/service provider, is no different to that of an organiser. If you erect barricades, and they injure an attendee, you could be liable.

    And, no, you can still be held liable for any damages incurred by trading a modified blaster. You can't just wipe your hands, and say it was borrowed. I take that risk every time I sell a commissioned blaster - hence why I'm reluctant at times to commission work from minor's.

    You can run around with your head in the sand, thinking everything will be rainbow's and lollipop's, or, you can heed the advice being presented in this thread. Admittedly, most of the info/experiences I'm providing are aimed at Echoes/Synergie, as they're the guys in a pretty tight spot at the moment, and hopefully this thread can help them out.

    Cheers,


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    camo1010

    Posts : 443
    Join date : 2011-08-09
    Age : 29
    Location : Toowoomba QLD, Australia, Earth, Milky way....

    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  camo1010 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 2:49 pm

    i have been looking at a face shield that we can get here in toowoomba. It's basically ski googles with a bit that comes down below it to protect the nose and mouth. They would look mean as hell painted up.

    I do think a disclaimer being signed by any participants under the age of 16 by both the player and a parent or guardian is a good idea.

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    redcricket077

    Posts : 629
    Join date : 2010-12-31
    Age : 20
    Location : SE Suburbs Melbourne

    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

    Post  redcricket077 on Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:18 am

    Parents always get edgy about Disclaimers

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    Re: Legal liability issues and Duty of Care in hosting Nerf Wars

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