SON SUES PARENTS TO ‘PROTECT THEM’
Negligence alleged after he suffered a spinal-cord injury in bike race as a 15-year-old
A B.C. man is suing his parents for alleged negligence after he was seriously injured in a mountainbike race as a teenager more than five years ago.
Landon McGauley says he was 15 when he suffered a spinal-cord injury in July 2010 while participating in a downhill mountain-bike race known as Yeah Bro! Bike Race at Sun Peaks Resort.
He says he lost control of his bicycle due to unsafe conditions and poor construction of the racetrack, including unstable ground and excessive moisture.
In a notice of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court, McGauley says his parents, Robert and Pam McGauley of Quesnel, consented to his participation and provided him with protective equipment and cycling gear.
Robyn Wishart, a lawyer for Landon, explained that her client initially sued the resort, alleging they were negligent in holding the race in unsafe conditions. That suit was filed more than two years ago and prompted the resort to turn around and file what’s known as a third-party notice, alleging the parents were responsible.
In order to best protect her client in the event the parents are held partially liable, Landon, who just turned 21, is now forced to add his parents to the lawsuit, said Wishart.
“It’s not our intention to prove his parents are negligent,” she said. “It’s our intention to disprove that.”
The parents would be protected by homeowner insurance and the resort would have liability insurance. Wishart said the parents were told initially that they might have to be named in the suit and they fully understand the reasons.
In an online account of the accident posted in October 2013, McGauley said that in a few moments his life “completely changed; in one minute I went from an average 15-year-old boy completely content and carefree to a torn, beat-up kid lying in the dirt completely terrified and uncertain of the future.”
McGauley says in the account that he was left a paraplegic in a wheelchair, but made the transition from standup skier to sit-skier the very next winter.
He says he was air-evacuated to the Vancouver Children’s Hospital, where doctors performed surgery “to try and place all the broken pieces back together” to prevent greater damage to his spinal cord.
The account, which mentions McGauley is a recipient of a scholarship from the Sarah Burke Foundation, points no fingers of blame.
No response has yet been filed to the lawsuit, which contains allegations that haven’t been tested in court. The parents couldn’t be reached for comment.