Liability Waivers: Are They Enforceable When You Are Injured?
With the beautiful weather we have most of the year, it is no surprise that both locals and tourists take advantage of this by participating in adventure sports such as parasailing, skydiving, and hang-gliding. In the excitement of the moment where adrenaline is flowing, many people probably never think twice before signing whatever paperwork is put in front of them before beginning a recreational activity. However, the reality is that signing a liability waiver can actually have a significant impact on your ability to recover if you are subsequently injured.
First Coast News recently reported that a North Port man was injured in a hang-gliding accident while abroad after the pilot neglected to strap him in. Using a GoPro, the man recorded himself in a video now posted to YouTube which shows that shortly after takeoff, the man realized that he was not attached to the aircraft. Instead, the man managed to keep from falling while the glider went, at times, hundreds of feet in the air only by holding on to the glider with one hand and the pilot with the other.
Had this incident occurred while the man was at home here in Florida, there is no doubt that the hang gliding company would have required the man to sign a liability waiver prior to the ride.
What is a Liability Waiver?
Businesses utilize waivers to help absolve themselves of liability in the event that something goes wrong on their end leading to an accident or injury. The waiver itself can vary in length, but represents the relinquishment of a right. Waivers are intended to communicate that by undertaking the stated activity, you understand the potential risks and are agreeing not to hold the business liable.
What is the Law?
Florida case law indicates that a waiver must be sufficiently clear in order for them to be enforceable. In Gillette v. All Pro Sports, the Fifth District refused to uphold a waiver after finding that it was intended to address only the negligent behavior of a signer or other go-kart patron, not the negligence of the employees themselves which the behavior at issue concerned. Thus, it was unclear whether the negligence at issue was intended to be within the scope of the waiver and therefore that waiver could not be upheld.
Is the Law the Same For Minors?
In Krathen v. School Board of Monroe County, the court affirmed that a parent may waive the rights of his or her children so long as the extent of the waiver is communicated in holding for the school, and against the minor student in that case.
I Signed a Waiver. Can I Still Recover?
Maybe. It is important that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible as this turns largely on whether the waiver you signed was sufficiently clear.
Did You Sign a Waiver Before Being Injured? We May Be Able to Help.
If you or someone you know has been injured after signing a liability waiver, the Jacksonville personal injury attorneys at The Pendas Law Firm can help. We have been assisting clients in Central and Southwest Florida recover since 2004 and have extensive experience helping people like you. Begin by contacting us today to schedule a free consultation so that we can discuss the facts of your individual case which is essential to your ability to recover for this kind of claim.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Fort Myers, Tampa, Bradenton and Daytona areas.