Limitation of Liability Clause
A woman bought a ticket to take a water taxi tour in Fort Lauderdale. She twisted her ankle during the ride and filed a lawsuit against Water Taxi Shuttle LLC and Water Taxi of Ft. Lauderdale LLC, claiming that they were responsible for her damages.
The companies say that the woman’s ticket purchase was an agreement that she wouldn’t sue them for any injuries sustained during the trip. Regardless, they say that they didn’t cause the woman to sprain her ankle. The companies are asking the court for a declaration stating that they aren’t liable for her injuries.
How does a ticket purchase relieve the companies from legal liability? It’s because the ticket contained a limitation of liability clause.
What Is a Limitation of Liability Clause?
A limitation of liability clause, or exculpatory clause, is a contract provision that relieves someone from liability for personal injuries. The goal is to prevent people from bringing personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. For example, fitness clubs usually require members to sign waivers relieving them from liability for foreseeable injuries like strained muscles. Read the fine print any time you purchase a ticket or sign a liability release waiver. These documents can inhibit your ability to pursue compensation for injuries, even when negligence is a factor.
Other examples of exculpatory clauses include:
- Coat check tickets saying that the restaurant, museum or other facility is not responsible for loss or damage.
- Dry cleaning receipts that say the dry cleaner isn’t responsible for changes in color or texture.
- Parking garage receipts saying that the garage isn’t responsible for stolen content or property damage.
So I Can’t File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Not every liability waiver is legally enforceable. It is, after all, a contract, and courts will not enforce fraudulent or unreasonable contracts. An experienced attorney can examine the facts of your case and help determine if you have a viable cause of action.
The language in a limitation of liability clause matters. An exculpatory provision is enforceable if the language is clear, according to the Florida Supreme Court. The clause doesn’t have to specifically mention the words “negligence” or negligent acts” to relieve companies of negligence liability.
“Exculpatory clauses are unambiguous and enforceable where the intention to be relieved from liability [is] clear and unequivocal and the wording [is] so clear and understandable that an ordinary and knowledgeable person will know what he or she is contracting away,” the court said in a 2015 case.
Contact Us Today
Contact a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation if you signed a contract or purchased a ticket with a limitation of liability clause but were injured by the company’s negligence. We will examine the facts of your case and help argue that the clause is unenforceable and that you are entitled to damages.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Jacksonville, Fort Myers, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.