Florida – If I sign a waiver for an activity, can I sue if I get hurt?
Many recreational facilities such as rock climbing, jet skis, or trampoline parks require all participants to sign waivers before participating to protect the company from being held liable if someone is injured. However, you may still have a personal injury case even if you signed a waiver.
What is a liability waiver?A waiver of liability is a document stating that the signee has agreed to give up their negligence-based personal injury claims against the defendant. Liability waivers are used by businesses and individuals to protect themselves from personal injury lawsuits when a particular activity is inherently dangerous. Many businesses would not be able to operate if they were subject to a lawsuit whenever a participant injured themselves. Remember that only negligence injury claims can be waived.
Enforceability of waiversIn Florida, liability waivers are enforceable but must abide by certain legal standards. In the state of Florida, a liability waiver will be deemed enforceable if the language of the waiver is clear and unambiguous. If it is demonstrated that the waiver failed to abide by this, your injury claim will move forward. Furthermore, you cannot surrender your right to sue for injury claims based on reckless or intentional conduct. Even if the language of the liability waiver protects the business from a claim like this, it would not be enforceable. In Florida, you would be entitled to sue in this situation.
Exceptions for minorsPre-injury liability waivers signed by parents are generally enforceable against children, but primarily in a non-commercial context, such as a school trip. In relation to commercial businesses, however, Florida applies an exception for minor children: liability waivers are limited to injury or loss due to the inherent risks of the activity. For example, if a child was rock-climbing and was injured from a fall, the waiver would be valid. However, if the child slipped on some water and was injured while at a rock-climbing facility, the waiver would be invalid because the injury was unrelated to the actual activity that the waiver protected against. This sort of injury would fall under general provider negligence, and would be a legitimate personal injury claim.
ConclusionIf you or someone you know has been injured and signed a liability waiver, the most important factor in moving your case forward is to show that the waiver is invalid and unenforceable. Make sure to document as much relevant information as possible and contact your local personal injury lawyer immediately. A trained professional can analyze the wording and meaning of the liability waiver and help you to move forward with your claim.