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Popular Competitive Event ‘Tough Mudder’ Settles Several Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Popular Competitive Event ‘Tough Mudder’ Settles Several Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Popular Competitive Event ‘Tough Mudder’ Settles Several Wrongful Death Lawsuits 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

“Tough Mudder” competitions have gained increasing popularity over the past several years, primarily due to the fact these races impart multifaceted obstacles courses and consistent terrain changes – in stark contrast to the traditional 10k or marathon-style race. In a typical Tough Mudder competition, contestants travel across dirt pathways, up hills and through aquatic areas – which are typically laced with dirt and natural debris.


In 2013, while participating in a Tough Mudder competition in West Virginia, a young competitor drowned completing the “Walk the Plank” exercise. The exercise required the contestant to plummet from a 15-foot into murky water below. According to video footage, over four minutes passed before race officials even realized the contestant had not surfaced, and additional critical seconds passed before the rescue dive team was dispatched to try and find the young man. In the end, he spent nearly nine minutes submerged under water before he was brought to the surface. While he did have a pulse at the time he was rescued, he was removed from life support the following day upon the request of his family.


The family filed a lawsuit against the Tough Mudder race, alleging that it was negligent in its organization and supervision of racers – particularly in the more dangerous aquatic areas. As well, the family alleged that the competition negligently “hurried” competitors through the Walk the Plank section in response to complaints on social media of the wait times associated with the event.


The case eventually settled just weeks before the trial was slated to begin, and several months following a failed attempt at mediation. As well, Tough Mudder attempted to rely on its “Death Waiver,” which the victim signed prior to beginning the event. Amid questions of enforceability, the waiver expressly absolves Tough Mudder from liability in the event a contestant is killed. However, these types of agreements have been routinely overruled by courts across the U.S. for being overly biased toward the event, as well as ambiguous in meaning and scope.


The Tough Mudder death is the first for this particular race, but one of several recent deaths within the context of competitive obstacle courses. In 2010, two men were killed while participating in the Warrior Dash, and another man drowned during a 2012 Mud Run in Texas.


Contact an experienced wrongful death attorney today.


If you recently experienced the death of a loved one, and believe the death may have been caused by negligence, please contact Chandler Mathis Zivley today: 1-800-657-7744.