On a regular basis, people in Florida are asked to sign liability waivers. These legal documents are provided to participants by a business or organization that facilitate an activity, required as a precursor to running a road race, and necessary for going to certain events, including concerts and other entertainment.
For example, you are signed up for a 5K fun run in the middle of the month. As you complete the registration process a few weeks before, whether online or in person, you will be asked to agree to a set of terms and conditions. A part of these terms is acquiescing to a waiver of liability against the organizer of the 5K and any of their partners or providers. Typically, you are asked to approve these terms and conditions before submitting payment or personal information. Some organizations still require a separate waiver when you arrive on the day of the 5K.
What is the effect of signing these liability waivers, and how do they affect your claim for a slip and fall injury if you are hurt during the event?
What is a Liability Waiver?
A liability waiver is a contract between two parties. As with all other legal agreements, these waivers can be between two individuals, two businesses, two other entities, or a combination of these. Generally, the terms of these agreements deal with liability for accidents, injuries, and illnesses that might result from a particular activity or event. More specifically, one party to a wavier liability agrees to forego any negligence-based injury claims against the other party.
Most liability waivers will include a list of accidents or type of injuries that are covered by the waiver, but this isn’t a strict requirement. Certain companies or organizations will ask participants to sign a general liability waiver that signs away the right to any type of negligence-based injury. While a broader waiver is often understood to protect against more claims, these are looked at with greater scrutiny by a court.
Do Liability Waivers Prohibit All Injury Claims?
Under Florida law, a liability waiver must meet specific criteria to be enforceable. The first requirement is that the language of the waiver is sufficiently clear that a non-lawyer, an ordinary person understands that he or she is signing away certain rights. If a liability waiver doesn’t pass this test, according to the court, then it will be held unenforceable, and the consent given by the injured party would be considered null and void.
Similarly, the waiver must be unambiguous. Under this requirement, it must be very clear in the contract what rights are being waived. If there is any question of ambiguity, the contract is typically read against the drafting party. For the most part, an ambiguous liability waiver will be considered unenforceable and the plaintiff could bring a claim for a slip and fall injury.
As well, a liability waiver can’t prohibit personal injury claims for reckless or intentional conduct. The standard for reckless activity in Florida is whether the defendant knew or should have known that the actions were likely to cause harm or injury. In these instances, or when the defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff, a liability waiver will not protect against a personal injury claim.
Questions on a Liability Waiver?
A knowledgeable personal injury attorney in Florida should handle evaluation of a liability waiver and your options for bringing a lawsuit, despite signing a liability waiver. Aronfeld Trial Lawyers in Miami, Florida provides counsel and representation for a wide range of personal injury cases and are prepared to evaluate your case. Contact Aronfeld Trial Lawyers at 1-866-597-4529 or (305)-441-0440, or reach our office 24/7 by email at [email protected].