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OYB: a Liability? This is My Waiver!

February 02, 2015


OK, I run the OYB website where I publish wide-ranging innovative outdoor sports content.

I also sell and innovate outdoor gear.

I resell secondhand gear, too.

None of these efforts add up to much, moneywise, but it seems worth doing.

I've been informed that if someone reads that canoe poling is a good idea and they stand in their canoe and fall in and drown, I'll be sued.

I sell canoe poles. If someone uses one and gets hurt, I'll be sued.

I resell XC skis as I find cool ones that I know people might like. ...If someone uses them and they break and they get hurt, I could be liable.

If I infringe or publish something that someone doesn't like, they can sue me.

I sell Nordic Ice Skates. If someone goes skating and falls in and drowns I can be sued.

I sell used bikes sometimes. If one breaks: sued.

I fabricate bike panniers. I often have kicked-off panniers of all kinds that I own with my heels as I ride. Or I've gone over bumps. I've had all sorts of panniers fall off of racks and cause a ruckus: they often get jammed in spokes then. They could cause a crash or hamper a bike in such a way that the rider gets hurt -- like while trying to cross a street -- suddenly the bike skids to a stop, etc.

Anything I sell, if it breaks or someone gets hurt using it, I could be sued.

I host ski and bike events.

I teach skiing and biking.

If anything goes wrong during or because of such things: sued.

My customers don't have to wish me ill will. If they have bills that THEIR insurer covers then their insurer will sue me. (Isn't that how it works?)

I'm then supposed to have liability insurance.

I've been told that I really need several kinds. Offhand, it seems like one "small shop" policy could do the trick. I've heard it runs about $1850 per year.


I got a quote on the cost of insuring a Ski Party of 50 people for a few hours. $335. I'd never make that much at such an event. If I had an insurer involved I'd have to name the event after them and tell everyone who showed up that their ticket money was just going to someone else. It would be weird. I haven't charged for events yet but someday it might be cool to. So say I charge $10. Well, $6 of that would go to insurance. I think I'll stick with donations.

It's just money I don't have. And, apparently, I need more than that basic policy.

This is the smallest operation out there. I've heard that if you can't afford insurance you just shouldn't be in business. Well, this kind of work needs doing so I'm going to do it anyway. I guess that's all there is to it.

Why should I not have to pay when others do? Good question.

Nobody's an exception, right?

We are all equally available to be robbed.

Well, I do have an LLC, so that's a little bit o' something. Probably not much. Could you come for my house? That's not much either.

I've been told that insurance would help cover the cost of a lawyer. Why would I get a lawyer? If someone is trying to take me house I think I'd want more defense than that. But I suppose this isn't the wild west. Though it helps one see why a lot of people do get riled up by this stuff -- it probably provokes more mayhem than the public is aware of.

I doubt I'd be willing to give up even my company name. Like, I've heard that people sometimes kill off a company so that it can't be sued. Whatever that means.

How about if I try something new. I've heard that waivers are a really good idea. They're a way for people to really say what anyone already actually knows. "I'm willingly buying these skis and skiing with them knowing that I might get hurt." Well, duh. But let's run with the waiver idea anyway.

Let this be my Waiver!

If you have anything to do with OYB, or one of my products or projects or events, then you agree to waive all rights.

Indeed, you do MORE than that. Not only do you agree to buy my weird stuff, or read my weird things, or attend my weird events, and not hold me liable for what happens to you as a result, but if you get hurt or killed or peeved while so doing, you agree to NOT LET YOUR INSURER OR OTHER REPRESENTATIVE come after me! In fact, if they insist, you agree to hire a lawyer to prevent them from so doing!

You are agreeing that you are involved with OYB as a Free Person. You agree that your awareness of me and what ensues after that (you buying stuff or learning things) will not end up threatening me. You agree that your interaction with me puts no entanglement upon me.

And that's that!

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