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Skate parks and insurance claims

Municipalities in West Virginia may be reluctant to build skate parks for their residents due to concerns about liability. However, more injuries occur per number of participants in other sports, such as basketball, football, volleyball, hockey, baseball and soccer, according to the Skate Park Association of the United States of America.

Beginning in the early 1990s and led by the California Supreme Courts, courts across the country began establishing common law doctrines that limited plaintiffs' ability to pursue damages for injuries that were sustained while they were participating in recreational activities considered to be risky. As a result, the negligence claims for sports injuries have been significantly limited. However, there is still a misconception about such claims that is prevalent among the public. Owners of public and private property tend to have a fear of liability and do not permit potentially hazardous recreational activities, such as skateboarding, to take place on their properties.

Although the market is not extensive, there is insurance coverage available for skate parks. Because the claims have not developed as expected, the cost of coverage is considered to be low. Property owners can expect to pay an average annual premium of $2,500 for $1 million of coverage.

According to a representative of SPAUSA, the low claims rates are not a surprise as people who participate in skateboarding expect to incur some injuries, similarly to those who play hockey or football. The representative also noted that cities who reject skate parks will build dog parks, even as $350 million is paid each year in lawsuits related to dog bites.

A personal injury attorney may file lawsuits under premises liability for individuals who were injured on another person's property. The property owner may be held financially liable if he or she failed to provide reasonable protections against dangerous hazards.

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