Axe-Throwing Accidents: When To Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

Axe-throwing is an increasingly popular sport, with players hurling at least 75 million axes in official contests. Its simple yet exhilarating gameplay has easily captured the interest of many sports fans. However, people worry about axe-throwing accidents as the sport’s popularity grows.

In 2019, a video of a woman barely escaping a flying axe that bounced back at her went viral. The woman in the video, Ainsley Rae, quickly ducked as the axe ricocheted off the floor. Rae noted neither she nor her boyfriend were drinking at the time of the incident.

Noticeably, the wooden target Rae hit did not have an impact board. An impact board is a shock absorber that prevents the axes from bouncing back toward the thrower. It is an essential safety feature all axe-throwing bars should have.

Statistically, the chances of axe-throwing accidents are relatively low. The World Axe Throwing League (WATL) considers Rae’s case an “unlucky bounce” and the first of its kind. Despite the relatively low likelihood of axe-throwing accidents, people cannot help but worry about incurring injuries during these activities. 

Suppose you plan on attending an axe-throwing event but are afraid of getting injured. Know that legal support is available. The Personal Injury Center provides reliable and up-to-date legal information. Find easy-to-read articles on various legal subjects to understand and protect your rights.

Key Takeaways
  • Axe-throwing is increasingly becoming popular, but many people are concerned about its safety.
  • Parties may recover general, special, and punitive damages from injuries incurred in an axe-throwing accident.
  • Axe-throwing accident victims should file a personal injury lawsuit before the time limit set by the statute of limitations.

What is axe-throwing? 

Axe-throwing is a sport where participants fling an axe at a designated target with the aim of hitting the bullseye. Records show that loggers played this game as early as the 1800s. However, it wasn’t until the 1940s the actual history of axe-throwing events in lumber camps began.

Although axe-throwing existed for centuries, it wasn’t until 2017 the sport had an official global forum through the World Axe Throwing League (WATL). WATL sets the official rules and regulations of the game.

Each game consists of ten throws, with five throws per competitor. After each side throws their shots, they alternate turns. The thrower with the most points at the end of the game wins. Sudden death rules apply in case of a tie.

What causes an axe-throwing accident? 

Throwers and spectators should exercise caution before, during, and after axe-throwing events. Pay close attention to people and your surroundings in axe-throwing venues. Even subtle factors could potentially trigger an accident. 

Here are the most common causes of axe-throwing accidents:

Inadequate staff training 

Staff members in axe-throwing venues should have undergone comprehensive training in handling equipment and ensuring customer safety. They are the first responders when emergencies happen and play an essential role in ensuring everyone’s safety. Their task includes thoroughly guiding the customers to ensure their safety while throwing axes. 

Non-maintenance of axe-throwing venue

Axe-throwing venues must be kept clean and debris-free to allow throwers to hit the targets without obstructions. Additionally, the venues should be structurally sound to safely handle the customers’ activities. 

The space should be clear and away from people, particularly for outdoor throwing events, since the area is open and less contained. Participants should exercise great caution in outdoor settings as external forces can affect the trajectory of the axe. 

Non-maintenance of axe-throwing equipment 

Improperly maintained equipment can heighten the risk of injuring customers and staff members. For official events, participants should only use pre-approved axes. The usage of improper equipment may result in disqualification.

WATL-certified axes weigh between one and 1.75 pounds. The maximum length of the blade is four inches. The handle should be at least twelve inches long. Its material can either be wood, steel, or plastic.

Excessive consumption of alcohol 

The rules of alcohol consumption differ in each establishment. Even if an axe-throwing bar allows drinking alcohol within the venue’s premises, participants should exercise caution and drink responsibly. Being too drunk can impair a person’s judgment and physical coordination, leading to unsafe behaviors during axe-throwing activities. 

Lack of employee supervision 

Besides installing CCTV cameras, axe-throwing bars should instruct their crew to check the area regularly. Besides acting as guides, staff members also keep a watchful eye on the people within the premises. Constant monitoring by the staff increases the chances of preventing accidents and providing immediate help when needed. 

Horse playing 

Throwers who do not follow the rules or exhibit reckless behavior will likely hurt themselves or others. While you can have fun in many ways within an axe-throwing venue, all players should exercise caution. Likewise, engaging in horseplay may seem harmless, but it can quickly escalate and cause irreversible damage.

Have you recently been injured in an accident?

Possible Injuries During Axe-Throwing Accidents

No one is safe from a flying axe’s dangers, not even experts who have played the sport for years. Everyone is expected to follow all safety precautions and avoid reckless behavior to prevent the following injuries:

  • Shallow cuts 
  • Deep wounds
  • Lacerations
  • Concussions
  • Bruises
  • Bone fractures
  • Loss of eyesight
  • Amputation

In extreme cases,  parties may die due to excessive blood loss or severe traumatic brain injury.

Safety Measures To Observe in Axe-Throwing Businesses 

Axe-throwing centers should prioritize the safety of their customers. One efficient way to achieve this is by maintaining strict safety measures. Top-tier establishments that value the welfare of throwers implement the following standards:

Conduct a thorough safety briefing 

Axe-throwing venues should thoroughly brief throwers about safety measures to ensure they can enjoy the game without hurting themselves or others. This step is a crucial requirement in any axe-throwing bar. It is one way to demonstrate an establishment has exercised reasonable care for its customers.

Observe age limits

State laws and venue rules vary on age restrictions. Generally, throwers under eighteen require their guardian’s consent and supervision. Minors, particularly children, are more prone to axe-throwing accidents because they lack strength and mental maturity.

Separate playing and eating stations 

Axe-throwing establishments with eating and drinking areas should ensure they are separated from the playing zone. Besides delineating the areas, establishments should provide enough distance between the two and erect protective structures. This measure allows customers to dine and play in peace without worrying about accidentally throwing an axe at someone or getting axed themselves.

Regulate alcohol consumption and intoxication

Being under the influence, whether by alcohol or drugs, can impair a thrower’s judgment and physical coordination, increasing the risk of an accident. Instead of mere regulation, some states like Washington prohibit alcohol consumption in axe-throwing venues

Additionally, some establishments have guidelines for staff to follow when dealing with drunk customers. They may deny them participation in the game. 

Observe an explicit axe retrieval protocol 

Establishments should have a clear axe retrieval protocol and strictly implement them. Retrieving axes places a person in a vulnerable position. Axe-throwing bars often prohibit throwers from collecting discarded axes and only allow staff members to collect them during specific intervals. This rule prevents accidents and ensures proper handling of axes. 

Limit the number of axes per lane

Limiting the number of axes per lane prevents throwers from going overboard with throwing. Additionally, each lane should only have one player at a time. Having multiple players fling several axes simultaneously can cause chaos and increase the risk of accidents.

Keep venue and equipment maintenance up-to-date 

Regular maintenance of the venue and equipment is essential to ensure the safety of customers. It gives operators a chance to discover malfunctioning parts and implement appropriate fixes. For example, axes should stay sharp enough to penetrate targets and remain on the board. Moreover, the handles should give players a firm grip to prevent slippage.

Actively monitor the throwers’ behaviors

Staff members should be keen on each thrower’s behavior and intervene when someone is misbehaving. Besides being observant, they should be trained to handle agitated customers without harming them. The establishment should anticipate all possible dangers since they could be held responsible for any incidents occurring on their premises.

Axe-Throwing Tips for Beginners 

Whether playing at a bar or out in the woods, mastering the basics can make the game more enjoyable. If it is your first time throwing axes, keep the following reminders in mind:

Clear the playing area before throwing  

Players should ensure their target is clear of any debris or obstruction. This precaution makes aiming and throwing easier, reducing the risk of the axe bouncing back toward the thrower.

Throw with confidence

Take a few breaths before throwing. It is better to throw with a calm and steady hand rather than quickly and mindlessly. Your mental and emotional instability may destroy your form and negatively affect the trajectory of your throw.

Use your dominant hand when throwing 

Throwing with your dominant hand is advisable. You will have better control of the axe, allowing for a more calculated and accurate throw. In contrast, throwing with your non-dominant hand may result in a less precise throw. The strength and accuracy of the crow may be compromised, leading to a missed target or unsafe situation. 

Throw one axe at a time

Throwing multiple axes in rapid succession is not advisable. It can cause fatigue and decrease your throwing accuracy. When the player loses their arm strength, they may not exert the necessary force to throw the axe properly. They may throw the axe in the wrong direction and cause injury to others.

Aim for the bullseye with your fist 

One good way to aim is to hold the axe in front and align the bullseye with your fist. Extend your arm as if it is a natural compass. Lunge your body towards the board’s direction so you can throw forward.

When unsure, seek the staff’s assistance 

If you’re unsure about your form or technique, drop your axe and ask questions. Do not rush to be an expert, as this behavior can put yourself and others in danger. Instead, learn gradually and apply the training tips the staff and experienced professionals offer.

Release of Liability, Waiver, and Assumption of Risk 

Most axe-throwing centers will require customers to sign a release form for liability. This legal document limits a customer’s ability to file legal actions against the axe-throwing center for certain types of personal injury. Customers should thoroughly review and understand the contents of this document before signing.


Parties often abbreviate the Release of Liability, Waiver, and Assumption of Risk as the “Release Agreement.” It is a legal document where the signatory relinquishes their rights to file a lawsuit and recover damages against the other party. The document affirms that the signatory knows the nature of the agreement and has given their express consent.

Legal implications

Axe-throwing establishments require axe throwers to sign the Release Agreement to protect themselves from legal disputes. Aside from the renouncement of filing legal actions, the agreement could also include provisions for the following:

  • Non-disparagement
  • Non-disclosure of confidential matters
  • Acceptance of a fixed and non-negotiable compensation 

The parties to the agreement may change the terms, including removing or adding provisions.

Can I still file a lawsuit even after signing? 

The Release Agreement legally prevents signatories from filing lawsuits against the other party for specified types of personal injury. Getting legal advice before signing waivers is crucial to understanding and accepting its consequences. However, signatories may question the validity of the agreement.

Consult a personal injury lawyer to know more about release agreements.

Should you hire a personal injury lawyer? 

Seek legal counsel immediately if you are involved in an axe-throwing accident, especially if you suffer any of the following:

  • Physical injuries due to axe-related accidents
  • Pain and suffering arising from bodily injuries
  • Maltreatment by the staff members or operators
  • Physical assault from other customers

Remember that personal injury lawsuits have time limits for filing under the statute of limitations. Filing actions beyond the deadline set by law may cause the dismissal of your case.

Moreover, seeking legal help does not always mean filing a lawsuit in court. Lawyers may aid injured parties in claiming fair settlements and other practical solutions.

Who can you sue? 

An injured person in an axe-throwing accident may sue the following:

Business owner 

Under the premises liability principle, property owners or business owners may incur legal liability for failing to provide a safe environment for customers. However, state laws differ on how injured parties claim compensation.


The failure of employees to execute their duties with reasonable care may make them liable for personal injury claims. There are also instances when employees intentionally assault customers for whatever reasons.

Other customers

Fellow customers may purposefully hurt other throwers despite the business owners and employees exercising reasonable care. It is common when parties are too drunk or intoxicated, leading them to lose control of their emotions during a game.

Recoverable Damages 

Injured parties in an axe-throwing accident may recover various types of damages from the responsible parties, including:

General damages

General damages cover compensable injuries that do not have a direct monetary value. Some notable examples include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and emotional distress

Special damages

In contrast, special damages refer to measurable financial losses. Parties may claim special damages in an axe-throwing accident when they suffered a concussion or lost a limb. Claimants may establish special damages through hospital receipts and medical records.

Punitive damages 

Unlike the first two, punitive damages are not compensatory. Its purpose is to set an example and discourage the public from engaging in similar behavior in the future. It punishes the defendant for their reckless, intentional, or malicious conduct.

Did you know?

Although the name of the sport is axe-throwing, most events utilize hatchets. Hatchets are smaller and lighter than standard hand axes. The WATL and IATL set specifications for all usable equipment in every contest category.

Get Matched With a Reliable Personal Injury Lawyer

The popularity of axe-throwing is on the rise globally. However, Ainsley Ray’s viral video has raised concerns about the safety of the sport. Understandably, it is better to err on the side of caution.

Axe-throwing accidents can lead to horrendous injuries. Besides seeking medical attention, injured parties should not delay consulting with personal injury lawyers.

The Personal Injury Lawyer is an online platform that offers premium, reader-friendly legal references. You may also enhance your legal knowledge by connecting with the best local attorneys. Check our free case evaluation to learn more about how we can help you.  

You deserve justice and reasonable compensation after suffering from an axe-throwing accident. The Personal Injury Center can introduce you to competent and well-experienced attorneys.

FAQs on Axe-Throwing Accidents

Depending on the event, players may use the following throwing axes:

  • Double-bit axes
  • Felling axes
  • Hatchets
  • Splitting axes
  • Tomahawks

Yes, some insurance policies specifically cover axe-throwing injuries. Bar owners and operators purchase this insurance to cover claims from:

  • Customers who suffered bodily injuries during axe-throwing game
  • Property damage
  • Assault and battery claims
  • Loss of income due to equipment failure

Injured parties are free to accept, reject, or negotiate the settlement price of an axe-throwing venue offer. However, consulting a personal injury lawyer is advisable to avoid getting unfair compensation. Know your rights before making any decision.