It seems like you have to sign a liability waiver before you can do anything. From participating in sports events and walking in a cancer drive, you probably signed a liability waiver, which means signing away your right to take action if you were hurt. Liability waivers should serve the purpose of protecting business owners from people who put themselves at risk. Typically that means that they’re acting in a way that isn’t in line with the activity or the equipment used.
So, does signing a liability waiver really mean that you don’t have any legal options? What if you were hurt, and it was genuinely that person or property owner’s fault? What if you did everything exactly as you were told and you were still hurt? You might have legal options, but you will probably need to speak with a local Tampa personal injury attorney.
Do You Really Sign Away All of Your Rights?
No, you are not singing all of your rights away, unless the liability waiver is extremely inclusive and well written. Liability waivers only waive the liability for the elements are listed in the waiver, and commonly understood agreements. For example, most sports liability waiver acknowledges that the athlete or their guardian cannot take legal action for any injuries sustained during normal play or practice. Normal play or practice for some story is risky; football and rugby have both been proven to lead to severe injuries and possibly a lifelong disability.
But, with a sports liability waiver that had the statement above, if there was abnormal play or significant negligence, then the athlete or their guardian would have legal options. For example, if a referee recommended that a player sit out because of a hard hit, and the coach chose not to follow that, the coach could be liable.
You may have signed away a significant portion of your rights, but you did not sign away the right to pursue compensation in events of gross negligence.
Negligence goes far beyond basic use or participation. For example, if you particpated in an escape room activity, and a piece of the ceiling fell on you, that had nothing to do with standard user participation in the activity. That is structural negligence, and the property owner is responsible for maintaining the building. In that instance, a liability waiver would not stand in place because the injury occurred because of basic structural negligence.
Negligence can come in the method of not providing the correct type of protective equipment, not adhering to basic rules of the sports, and not taking proactive measures to protect the people engaging in the activity.
When is a Liability Waiver Enforceable?
Liability waivers are almost always enforceable. The question is, what do they cover? What a liability waiver covers that depends entirely on the content of the waiver. That means an attorney needs to carefully look at the document to determine how much protection it offered to the business owner, and what it did not cover for the victim.
General liability waivers that say that the property owner or business owner just isn’t responsible may not be enforceable at all. These blanket or umbrella statements can hold up in some situations, but they aren’t all-encompassing. A property owner stating on a piece of paper that they’re not responsible for any injuries doesn’t exclude them from maintaining their property or creating a safe environment.
To learn whether the liability waiver you signed is enforceable and what exactly it covers, talk to a legal professional. Attorneys work to help victims understand their options for compensation so that they aren’t stuck with mountains of medical debt for an injury that wasn’t their fault.
Can You Still Sue? Tampa Personal Injury Attorneys Can Explain
The quickest way to determine if you can take legal action against the property owner, team manager, coach, or another involved person, is to talk to an attorney. If you participated in an activity that resulted in an injury, the property owner or business owner might have used the liability waiver to say you didn’t have any options. They’re not an attorney.
Talk to a local Tampa personal injury lawyer to find out if the liability waiver covers the injuries you experienced. If it’s found that your injuries happened through a normal course of events or because of your own negligence, then you might not have any resolution options. But that’s usually not the case. Most injuries during sports activities or recreational activities happen because of gross negligence from another party. Contact Winters & Yonker to learn more about your options.