Liability waivers are becoming an increasingly common way that businesses and organizations try to protect themselves against injury claims. If you've been hurt after you signed a waiver, you might wonder what your chances of successfully pursuing a case may be. Take a look at what a personal injury lawyer would have to say about the prospects of beating a liability waiver.
Negligence, Recklessness, and Malice
The main reason a personal injury attorney will consider pushing a claim against a defendant that has a signed waiver in hand is that negligence can't be waived. From a societal perspective, if parties were allowed to operate beneath the standards of their professions just because of a piece of paper, it would provide a massive incentive to do things the wrong way. Modern civilization just doesn't work very well in that scenario.
As you might imagine, this concern only becomes more problematic when you consider worse forms of liability. Gross negligence, usually the product of compelling someone to take a risk in a dangerous situation, would be a worse example of what could happen. That just escalates more if someone were to suppose they weren't liable for reckless conduct or even overt malice.
What Does the Liability Waiver Do, Then?
It doesn't do much, to be blunt. Mostly, it convinces people who don't know the law well enough to avoid filing claims or at least getting in touch with a personal injury lawyer. Even if you think the waiver is ironclad, most injury attorneys offer free or low-cost initial consultations. They can review the waiver and tell you whether it's an obstacle.
Known Risks and Risk Mitigation
One of the few defenses arising from a liability waiver that stands a chance of holding up in court is the idea that the risks involved were known. This means that a reasonable person would understand the activity in question to be potentially risky. This would include things like skydiving, riding along in a race car, or eating extremely hot peppers.
Notably, the waiver still has to spell out all of the known risks and potential injuries. Similarly, the party asking for the waiver has to still take reasonable measures to mitigate the known risks. A bungee-jumping business, for example, can't just buy the cheapest rope they can find, shove you off a platform, and hope for the best. In other words, the company still has to do all the things the law expects of it whether or not a waiver was signed.
Contact a personal injury lawyer to learn more.