Is a Liability Waiver Enforceable?
Liability waivers are used for everything from entering amusement parks and signing up for gym memberships, to skydiving lessons and wine tours. While most people do not read all of the fine print in these multi-page documents, according to the New York Times, once you sign such a document, the contract is likely valid. Most liability waivers hold up in courts of law. Whether a plaintiff files a personal injury lawsuit for an accident that they caused themselves, or if the injury was caused by negligence on behalf of the tour company, organizer, guide, or gym, more often than not the lawsuit is unsuccessful. However, this may not be the case in your situation. There are circumstances in which liability waivers are invalid. If you got injured, The Villages personal injury attorney can help you win your case.
What is a Liability Waiver?
A liability waiver is a legal document that a company requires a person to sign in order to release said company from liability. If the individual gets injured while participating in the company’s activities, a liability waiver can make the company immune to an injury lawsuit. Liability waivers are also called by the following terms, and more:
- Release of liability;
- Assumption of risk;
- Indemnity agreement;
- Exculpatory agreement;
- Hold harmless agreement;
- Participation waiver;
- Waiver of rights;
- Release or release form;
- Legal release; and
- Pre-injury release.
Necessary Conditions of a Valid Liability Waiver
In the Florida case of Theis vs. J & J Racing Promotions, the court found that in order for a signed liability waiver to be valid, it must be “clear, unambiguous, unequivocal, broad and specific.” This means that:
- The language used in the waiver must be clear enough for the person signing to understand what they are signing and the rights they are surrendering;
- The waiver must not be open to interpretation;
- The terms in the waiver cannot be worked around or bypassed
- The terms in the waiver must be broad and specific enough to protect the company from liability for its own negligence, even if its actions constitute gross negligence.
Essentially, this means that if a waiver was poorly worded, overly confusing, or important terms were completely lost in fine print, the liability waiver may not be upheld in court.
When Gross or Egregious Negligence Makes a Liability Waiver a Mute Point
Even valid liability waivers do not excuse all forms of negligence. If the company engaged in reckless, wanton, gross, or egregious negligence, that party can be held accountable. For example, if a lifeguard at a waterpark was found to be drunk on the job, and failed to rescue a drowning victim, the waterpark could be sued.
Call The Villages Personal Injury Attorney Today
Before you discuss anything with the other party or let yourself believe that you have no case, let an attorney look over your situation for you. You may be able to recover your damages even if you signed a liability waiver or release form. To speak to an experienced The Villages personal injury attorney today, call the Glover Law Firm at 352-484-0775 to schedule a free consultation.