Recreation and Fitness Impact
Thousands of Small Businesses
in economic activity
billion in tax revenue
Oregon’s Liability Waiver Standard is
EXTREME AND OUT OF BALANCE
Recent court rulings have effectively nullified Oregon liability waivers, impacting the accessibility and affordability of recreation and fitness for people across our state. Oregon businesses are now paying significantly more for liability insurance than other western states. As a result, recreation and fitness providers are forced to either increase consumer costs or eliminate recreation options altogether. This will have a devastating effect on small businesses, rural communities and recreationists throughout the state. Without waiver reform, Oregon risks losing the tremendous societal and economic benefits recreation and fitness provide.
To level the playing field with other states and preserve recreational opportunities, Oregon needs to re-align with the same balanced standard that exists in every other western state.
With this legislation Oregon will return to the same liability standard as every other western state. Like California and Washington, individuals who engage in inherently risky activities will accept responsibility for their activity, while businesses will be held accountable for the safety of their operations. This is common sense and a well-established approach. Now, Oregon businesses shoulder substantially all the risk, and this imbalance threatens the viability of those businesses and recreation options for people across the state.
Don’t Shut Down
Oregon Recreation AND FITNESS
Passing This Legislation Will
Preserve recreation options for Oregonians
Without this reform, insurance costs will continue to skyrocket and businesses will be forced to either increase their costs to recreationists or eliminate certain recreation options altogether.
Keep recreation affordable, especially for low-income Oregonians
Access to recreation, especially health clubs and gyms, is essential to increasing the health and well-being of Oregonians across the state. Whether they are participating in after-school sports teams, working out in health clubs or enjoying Oregon’s forests and rivers, it is essential we preserve access to recreation for all of our community.
Protect vital jobs and tax revenue
Oregon indoor and outdoor recreation providers generate $16.75 billion in economic activity, which makes them an economic force across the state. Collectively, they employ 245,000 Oregonians and contribute more than $1 billion in tax revenue to the state and local communities.
Support rural economies that depend on recreational tourism
While recreation providers generate benefits across the state, they are particularly important in rural communities that rely on tourism. Without a vibrant recreation sector, many of the small businesses that hold these communities together will disappear.
Make Oregon a more desirable state for recreation and fitness small businesses
If Oregon recreation providers are subject to substantially higher costs than their counterparts in other western states, it will be more difficult to start or locate a recreation or fitness business here. With our reasonable waiver reform proposal, Oregon can open the door to more fitness options and reclaim its identity as a haven for recreationists.
There have been a series of lawsuits where courts have determined that businesses may be liable for accidental injuries even when a recreationist signed a waiver, was engaged in inherently risky activity and the accident was not the result of reckless disregard or willful conduct by the business. Upon appeal, the Oregon Supreme Court upheld these findings. The result is any accident can now lead to open-ended liability for the business, and liability waivers provide no protection.
Every business requires liability insurance to operate. In the case of recreation and fitness businesses, they provide services that can lead to their customer’s personal injury. But, not all of those injuries are the fault of the business. To create a reasonable sharing of legal responsibility, a well-established framework permits businesses to have customers sign liability waivers that specify when businesses and customers, respectively, are legally responsible for injuries. Nullifying these waivers means businesses can be responsible for any injury, and the result is they either cannot get insurance coverage, or their premiums increase dramatically. The result is higher costs and less access to Oregonians seeking recreation and fitness options.
The proposed reform will enact in Oregon law the well-established legal framework that exists in every other western state. That is, legal waivers can be signed that hold individuals engaged in inherently risky activities responsible for their actions, while businesses will remain accountable for behavior that is reckless or willful. This is the balanced standard that existed in Oregon before the court rulings, and it will ensure consumers have affordable access to recreation and fitness options.
Oregonians will be treated just like consumers in every other western state and will continue to be protected against the reckless disregard or willful conduct of recreation and fitness providers. Without waiver reform, however, consumers will face higher costs and fewer recreation and fitness options.
The 2023 Oregon State Legislature will kick off in January and run through June. During that time, a bill will be introduced to enact the waiver reform. That will be the subject of committee hearings and then will have to be passed by the Oregon House of Representatives and Oregon State Senate. It will then need to be signed by Gov. Kotek. If you’re willing to lend your voice to help pass this bill, CLICK HERE