Legal Liability Waivers | Q and A Liability Waivers
5 Common Questions About Legal Liability WaiversIn most cases, anyone who is injured due to another’s negligence has the right to sue for compensation. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as when there are statutory protections or laws that prohibit lawsuits, procedural requirements that must be met before a lawsuit can proceed, or if you are partially at fault for the injury yourself. One other common reason why people don’t pursue lawsuits is if they have waived their right to do so. This is referred to as “waiving liability”. You are no doubt familiar with legal liability waivers – those documents you are asked to sign before undertaking a risky activity like whitewater rafting or ziplining. But they’re also very common at schools and daycares, gyms and fitness centers, and if you participate in sports.
A Signed Waiver Does Not Prohibit LawsuitsPeople usually assume that because they signed a legal liability waiver, they cannot bring a lawsuit if they are injured, but this is not always true. The most important thing to understand about legal liability waivers is that they do not take away your right to sue if an accident does happen, rather, they are intended to limit the other party’s liability. If an accident does occur, you’ll still need to prove that the other party was negligent and that this negligence contributed to the injury. If a party was negligent, they can be held liable for the injuries sustained and be required to provide compensation to the victims.
5 Common Questions About Legal Liability WaiversGiven this confusion, we’ve assembled answered to five common questions about legal liability waivers.
- Am I Required to Sign a School Liability Waiver? Probably Not. Almost every parent will be presented with a school liability waiver at some point. You may feel like you have no choice but to sign it, but many are not mandatory. Read the document carefully or ask if you are required to sign it in order for your child to participate in the activity. If not, you can safely refrain from signing the document. However, if you are required to sign it, don’t fear that doing so will remove your ability to sue if your child is injured. Chances are it won’t, assuming the school’s negligence contributed to the injury.
- If I am Injured at the Gym, Can I Sue? You’ll likely be asked to sign a waiver before using the gym, but exactly what right you have to sue depends on the language contained in the waiver and the circumstances surrounding your injury.
- Is My Child’s Daycare Liability Waiver Enforceable? Probably Not. Similar to school liability waivers, daycare liability waivers are designed to limit the daycare’s liability, but a daycare cannot waive their liability for injuries that occur due to the center’s or center staff’s negligence.
- Can I Sue if I am Hit by a Foul Ball? Probably Not. Did you know that you “sign” a liability waiver every time you buy a ticket to a sporting event? Check the fine print on the back of your ticket next time and you’re certain to see language to the effect of the holder assuming the risk of injury by attending the event. These waivers, along with “The Baseball Rule” have stopped many foul ball type of personal injury lawsuits from ever getting to court. The Baseball Rule requires teams to install protective netting in danger zones – areas that are located too close to the batter to give fans enough time to protect themselves from a foul ball. Areas located further away from the action are not protected by this rule and assume the risk of being hit.
- Can a Unit of Government Force Me to Sign a Liability Waiver and/or Waive My Injury Claim? Probably. Government entities can require you to sign a liability waiver and they are usually upheld. If the entity is proven negligent, you’ll likely still be able to secure compensation. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule. You’ll need to consult a personal injury attorney for advice specific to your situation.