Phil Franckel Oct 2015

philFrankelIs a Release For Liability Valid Against a Motorcycle School?

Most people are familiar with signing a release for liability when participating in various recreational activities such as skydiving. Before being allowed to participate, an employee requires you to sign a release in case you’re injured because of their negligence. Sometimes, the release is on the back of your admission ticket.

People usually believe they can’t file a lawsuit because of the release but that’s usually not true. In fact, that’s the reason for the release, to make you think you can’t have a lawsuit. Most lawyers are aware that these releases have no legal significance and will be happy to represent you if you are injured.

One of our clients was injured at the bottom of a toboggan run. His admission ticket had a release for liability on the back. He was an engineer and easily identified the negligent design he was staring at when he was injured.

New York State General Obligations Law § 5–326 prohibits an owner or operator of a recreational facility from enforcing a release given by someone who has paid for the use of the facility. This is why we were able to represent that client.

However, these releases are sometimes enforceable. For instance, when the activity is instructional rather than recreational such as a motorcycle school. Just a few years ago, this issue was decided in a case against a motorcycle school.

The motorcyclist signed up for a two day riding course. On the second day, it was raining and the motorcyclist filed a lawsuit after being injured, alleging that the motorcycle school was negligent in proceeding without proper instruction for riding in the rain.

The Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court held that the release was valid because the motorcyclist participated in a course of instruction provided by the motorcycle school and was not participating in recreational activity.

The Appellate Division also ruled that the release was clear in stating that the motorcyclist was aware of the risks and assumed the risks with participating in the motorcycle riding course. Since the release was ruled to be valid, so was the assumption of risk.

Consequently, the lawsuit was dismissed and the rider was not able to be compensated for the injury.

If you are ever injured and think you don’t have a case or cannot file a lawsuit, always speak with a lawyer to make sure.

If you have a question for an article, anything else, or would just like to say hello, please call Phil Franckel at 1-800-HURT-911 or send your question to

Philip L. Frankel Esq. and Rob Plevy, Esq. are attorneys with FRANCKEL & PLEVY, LLP representing people hurt in motorcycle and other accidents. Disclaimer: This article should be considered advertising to represent people HURT in an accident; is for informational purposes and should not be relied upon because it could contain errors; the correct information may be different for your set of facts even though they seem similar; and is not legal advice which should only be obtained by contacting Phil Franckel, Esq. or Rob Plevy, Esq. for a free consultation to discuss your specific circumstances at 1-800-HURT-911.

See our web sites, and If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident, speak directly to Phil Franckel 24/7 at 1-800-HURT-911 — 1-800-487-8911.