Most organizations and businesses ask their customers to sign a liability waiver before using their equipment or participating in an activity. They do this in order to shield themselves from any liability and avoid being sued when a person suffers an injury or is killed either after using their product or while participating in an activity.
Whereas you may be led to believe that you have signed away your right to sue, there are scenarios where you may still have legal options if you’ve sustained an injury due to negligence.
Contact Flora Templeton Stuart personal injury lawyers to discuss your claim and determine how we may help you hold the responsible party accountable. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you’ll only pay nothing unless we get the settlement you deserve.
What’s In This Guide:
- What is a Waiver of Liability?
- Who Can Sign a Liability Waiver?
- When are Waivers Enforceable in Bowling Green?
- When Should I File a Lawsuit?
- How Can You Defeat a Waiver of Liability?
- What Compensation Can You Obtain After Defeating a Waiver?
A liability waiver is a legal agreement between two parties, usually a business/organization undertaking a business-related event. This agreement releases one party from the obligation of paying damages in the event that the other party suffers an injury or gets killed while using company equipment or participating in an activity.
Liability waivers are usually used by organizations whose patrons participate in inherently risky activities such as:
- Fitness center
- Rock climbing
- Operating machinery
- And more
Youth organizations and schools also often use liability waivers for kids who participate in sporting events and off-campus field trips.
Given that liability waivers typically serve as an agreement not to pursue legal action against an organization or business, anyone signing this legal document must be of sound mind and do so of their own free will. This means that the party seeking immunity from liability in case of an injury or death shouldn’t manipulate or coarse someone into signing the waiver. They shouldn’t also get the person to sign the waiver under false pretense.
Since waivers are also used by daycares, schools, and other organizations and businesses that cater to minors, a legal guardian may sign the liability waiver on behalf of the child but this may not be enforceable. Doing so releases an organization or business from liability for economic damages like medical bills, should the child suffer an injury.
Bowling Green, Kentucky, is one of the jurisdictions that typically requires pre-injury waivers to refer to negligence specifically or intend to bar negligence through the use of clear language. Below are specific tests that Kentucky courts use to determine whether or not to uphold a waiver/ pre-injury release:
- It specifically and clearly indicates an intent to release a party from liability for an injury caused by that party’s conduct.
- It explicitly expresses an intent to exonerate the guilty party by using the word “negligence.”
- The injury suffered was clearly stated in the provisions of the agreement
- The release/waiver was properly drafted orb worded in accordance with the state laws.
Suppose all these conditions are met, the waiver may result in the dismissal of a lawsuit on summary judgment.
Most waivers are meant to waive liability for negligence. Even so, Bowling Green courts are split on whether the waivers should also be enforceable when it comes to gross negligence. Some courts say that suppose the liability waiver explicitly specifies immunity for gross negligence; then, it is not enforceable. Nonetheless, other courts have said that since gross negligence is technically still negligence, a waiver for negligence may be enforced. In short, the enforceability of waiver liability negligence is still a grey area.
The question of when you should file a lawsuit for damages after signing a waiver of liability is an issue that you should discuss with an experienced attorney. The attorney will assess all the facts of your claim and guide you on the best legal option.
Suppose the waiver of liability you signed can be enforced by law; a lawyer may advise you against filing a lawsuit to recover compensation for your damages, given that you sign an agreement not to sue.
Nonetheless, in case a parent or guardian signs a waiver on behalf of a minor, Bowling Green courts rule that the child can still be able to recover compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering since the parent or guardian doesn’t have the right to their child’s right to pursue compensation.
As such, whereas a parent or legal guardian can’t file a suit for medical expenses and other economic damages on behalf of their child, they may be able to file a claim for non-economic damages.
Lawyers have long been seeking compensation and justice from organizations and businesses that breached their duty of care and caused injuries. Courts often hold such businesses accountable regardless of what the plaintiff signed. Below are common instances of why you can file a claim despite signing a waiver that the law might think would protect a business:
- The injury was as a result of more than mere negligence. Waivers are often dismissed when the incident arises because of gross negligence or an intentional tort. The business has to take measures to prevent such incidents from happening, or a waiver of liability will be dismissed, and you’ll be able to sue the business under the law.
- The risk of injury wasn’t disclosed, and, therefore, it wasn’t unforeseen. Your safety expectations are set by whatever the business tells you about its services. Such a business should be sued if it doesn’t adequately inform you of all potential injury risks, and a waiver won’t be enforceable it doesn’t.
- The person signing was not competent at the time or is a minor. In most cases, parents are also unable to waive for a child.
Suppose you defeat a waiver of liability in court, you’ll be able to proceed to trial and make your case. The amount of compensation you receive will be determined by the injuries you suffered and the type of case you file. Here are the damages that you may receive:
- Economic damages: You can seek compensation for out-of-pocket expenses after dismissing a waiver, including lost income, medical bills, and property damages.
- Punitive damages: You may be awarded punitive damages to ensure that the guilty party doesn’t commit a similar act.
- Non-economic damages: You may pursue compensation for intangible damages once you have eliminated the validity of a waiver of liability covering things such as disability, disfigurement, or pain and suffering.
- Wrongful death damages: Families can receive compensation for the loss of a loved one and the subsequent missed support, lost companionship, and the grief that comes with a loved one’s death regardless of signing a waiver.
Call Us Today and Let Us Review Your Claim
Unfortunately, the statutes that govern the enforceability of the liability of waivers are still grey. Fortunately, our skilled attorneys at Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers are here to help you determine what your legal options are if you signed a waiver of liability.
We have a proven track record of success seeking compensation for injury victims and are ready to file a lawsuit. We strive to recover maximum compensation for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. With an office in downtown Bowling Green, our team is always close by and can travel to meet with our injured clients. Contact us for a free case evaluation.