As summer approaches, Florida parents will sign various waivers, releases and indemnification agreements if they want to unload their children at various camps or day care centers. As a Miami-Dade County children’s injury attorney, I recommend caution be exercised before you sign anything.
Florida’s Supreme Court made it clear in Kirton v. Fields that parents cannot waive their children’s rights by signing a release in a commercial activity. This is true in most jurisdictions in the United States. However, what has been defined as a commercial activity has been hotly litigated in the courts.
In 2010 the Florida Legislature once again came to the aid of big business at the expense of injured children by passing §744.301(3). This law, buried under the “domestic relations” section of the Florida Statutes, allows business owners to escape liability when the activity is “inherently dangerous” so long as the business operator acts reasonably. The Statute also excludes claims for failing to warn of a dangerous condition.
To further help business protect themselves from accountability to an injured child, the Florida Legislation drafted the release and put it right on the books for all businesses to use. For example, if your local swim camp has a high rise diving board and your child is severely injured there may be no ability to obtain compensation for their injuries. Especially if you have signed the attached form.
Our South Florida personal injury lawyers recommend that before you put your children in the hands of anyone this summer, you carefully research the training, experience and supervisor-to- child ratio.
NOTICE TO THE MINOR CHILD’S NATURAL GUARDIAN
READ THIS FORM COMPLETELY AND CAREFULLY. YOU ARE AGREEING TO LET YOUR MINOR CHILD ENGAGE IN A POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS ACTIVITY. YOU ARE AGREEING THAT, EVEN IF ( name of released party or parties ) USES REASONABLE CARE IN PROVIDING THIS ACTIVITY, THERE IS A CHANCE YOUR CHILD MAY BE SERIOUSLY INJURED OR KILLED BY PARTICIPATING IN THIS ACTIVITY BECAUSE THERE ARE CERTAIN DANGERS INHERENT IN THE ACTIVITY WHICH CANNOT BE AVOIDED OR ELIMINATED. BY SIGNING THIS FORM YOU ARE GIVING UP YOUR CHILD’S RIGHT AND YOUR RIGHT TO RECOVER FROM ( name of released party or parties ) IN A LAWSUIT FOR ANY PERSONAL INJURY, INCLUDING DEATH, TO YOUR CHILD OR ANY PROPERTY DAMAGE THAT RESULTS FROM THE RISKS THAT ARE A NATURAL PART OF THE ACTIVITY. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO SIGN THIS FORM, AND ( name of released party or parties ) HAS THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO LET YOUR CHILD PARTICIPATE IF YOU DO NOT SIGN THIS FORM.