There were so many ways that we all thought the show Jackass would end. But very few of us thought it would end with a lawsuit. However, a judge recently issued a trial date in the civil case against two members of the show. Air traffic controller Michael Vicens-Segura is suing cast members Stephen Gilchrest Glover, also known as Steve-O, and Chris Pontius.
In court documents, Vicens-Segura accused them of being responsible for his near-fatal head injury during a botched “Jet Ski Tug of War” stunt. Both defendants state that the plaintiff is responsible for placing himself in the position where he got hurt.
What happened that led to a brain injury?
After his current counsel filed an amended complaint, the video of Vicens-Segura’s incident was published on YouTube in February. On March 11, 2018, he visited a marina in Rincon, Puerto Rico, where someone he knew asked for his jet ski to use for production.
Part of the stunt required Steve-O and Pontius to ride away from each other on separate jet skis while they were tied together by a bungee cord. However, the bungee cord snapped in the middle of the stunt. The cord struck Vicens-Segura in the head while he was between the two watercraft in the water.
Vicens-Segura remembers feeling a “crazy incredible pain” and nausea when he returned to land. He remembered asking people to “take the pressure out of my head.” By the time he was taken to an ambulance on a stretcher, he said, everything went dark.
Vicens-Segura suffered from brain bleeding, a blood clot in the brain, a C5/C6 herniated disc, and damaged nerves from his neck to his arms. Doctors had to perform a craniotomy to help get the blood out.
While he was prescribed 1,000 milligrams of the anti-convulsive Keppra, he states he suffered from sudden disturbing thoughts. After calling the doctor and describing his symptoms, his doctor took him off the meds.
Brain injuries from social media challenges
Some people believe that social media challenges are done for fun. But many people underestimate the nasty turns these challenges can take. Dares and challenges created for fun or attention can cause serious harm to teens and young adults.
Because social media challenges are the right combination of risky and fun, many teenagers want to do them. But many social media challenges are dangerous and end up causing physical and mental harm.
Some social media challenges that have trended on TikTok and have led to brain injuries include the Blackout Challenge and the Skullbreaker challenge. The Blackout Challenge involved participants asphyxiating themselves and holding their breath until they fell unconscious.
The Skullbreaker Challenger involved three people standing in a row taking turns jumping. The two people on the outside would jump first, followed by the person in the middle. Once he or she does, the people from the outside kick out the middle person’s legs, flipping them over and causing the person to fall and hit their head.
Liability for brain injuries in Kansas City
When people or entities encourage these types of challenges, they hold some liability for the participants’ brain injuries. TikTok has issued statements in the past stating that the company plans to remove videos of any dangerous challenges from its platform. The company does not want to promote content that encourages its users to engage in dangerous activity. But that is the extent of their liability. Currently, the platform does not accept liability for any injuries the participants sustain.
Even before TikTok, platforms like Jackass requested that participants sign liability waivers to avoid responsibility for anyone’s injuries. Liability waivers are legal documents that companies ask you to sign acknowledging that you know the risks associated with a particular activity.
It is a release form that informs you of the “inherent risks,” or potential risks, associated with an activity. It is a way for the company to inform you of the risks while absolving themselves of their liability towards you. Once you sign a liability waiver with a company, you are agreeing in advance not to sue the company in court for your injuries.
Not all liability waivers, however, may stand up in court. One of the most important elements of a liability waiver is the scope. For the scope of the waiver to be effective, the release must be clear, transparent, and explicit in expressing the intent of the parties. That means that anything not mentioned within the scope of the liability waiver will not be covered under the scope of the release.
Another defense that can be used against a liability waiver is gross negligence. Gross negligence is the heightened degree of negligence characterized by the extreme departure from the ordinary standard of care. If the person or party’s behavior was deemed grossly negligent, the liability waiver will be invalidated. It will be up to the courts to determine whether the person or party’s actions rise to the level of gross negligence.
If you or a loved one were hurt due to another’s negligence, reach out to a personal injury lawyer at Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys. We have earned the respect of insurance companies and defense lawyers due to our attention to detail, our thorough understanding of the law, and our ability to argue your case before a jury. Call or text our office at 816-471-5111, or submit our contact form to schedule your free consultation. We also have offices in Lee’s Summit, St. Joseph, and Parkville, MO, as well as Overland Park, Olathe, and Kansas City, KS, available by appointment.
We know that it can feel as if there’s no end in sight when you’re living with a serious injury. At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we’re on your side from day one. We’ll not only fight for your best interests, but we’ll help you process and deal with your injury along the way. Our personal injury lawyers handle the insurance company for you, and make sure that you find the tools and resources you need to move forward. When you need an experienced, compassionate Kansas City personal injury lawyer, we answer the call.