Signing Away The Right To Sue
Most people do not read the language in liability waivers before agreeing to sign away their rights to sue in case an accident occurs in the course of an activity. Some business owners providing waivers use boilerplate language that is supposed to cover all lawsuits, and believe that it means that a person injured while engaged in the activity offered by the business cannot sue them. While signing a waiver does not mean an injured person cannot sue, it also weakens an injured person’s claim and in some cases can lead to the case being dismissed.
Waivers most often attempt to limit a business owner’s liability in the event of injury to business customers. The specific section of an agreement waiving away rights is also called an exculpatory clause. They are usually used in amusement parks, sporting activities, and other such activities that may lead to physical injury. When evaluating the validity of a waiver of liability, the courts review the language contained in the waiver to see whether the language used was clear and unambiguous, and gave the person signing away their rights notice of the rights they were signing away. Among other requirements, clear and unambiguous language has to be visible to the reader, not in a small illegible font.
Where a waiver spells out the kinds of risks that are envisioned in the activity, a court is more likely to find that the person signing the waiver understood what rights were being signed away. If a person does not understand what the waiver is referring to, it is possible in some cases to ask for clarification before signing the waiver. Waivers are not usually enforced if the injuries sustained were not foreseeable or expected in the activity the injured person was participating in. Additionally, waivers that seek to limit the business’ gross negligence, or shorten the statute of limitation for injuries are also more likely to be declared void.
Note that parents can waive away their children’s right to sue a business owner providing an activity in which the children are participating. However, as with most other waivers, the parent cannot waive away the child’s right if the child is injured due to something that was not an inherent risk in the activity. Parents also cannot waive away the right to sue for acts caused by gross negligence.
While most people just assume that waivers are just paperwork they should sign to get through and enjoy their activities, they should not dismiss them easily. In some cases, you may not realize the true risks involved in an activity until you read the waiver. Therefore, it is always a good idea to read waivers before signing them.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorney
If you or your child sustained serious injuries while riding on an amusement park ride or a similar activity, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney. Even if you signed a waiver, you may have a chance at recovery. Contact the experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys at Boone & Davis, PA, for a consultation today.