Liability Waivers and How They Could Impact Your Injury Claim

close-up stock image of a hand signing a documentIn California, liability waivers are used to help shield businesses from being sued if someone gets injured on their property. Whether they are enforceable or not depends on how well they are drafted and whether gross negligence was involved.

At Arnold Law Firm, we discuss more about liability waivers, including what legal options you may have if you sign them and get injured.

Did you suffer an injury after signing a liability waiver? Contact our law offices to learn whether you may have legal options for recovering your damages. Our Sacramento personal injury lawyers have been helping injury victims since 1975 and have a proven history of results.

Request a FREE, no-risk case review today. Call: (916) 777-7777

Are Liability Waivers in Sacramento Enforceable?

In Sacramento, liability waivers may often be enforceable. However, there are certain factors that may enable injured parties to seek compensation even after signing a waiver. Attorneys must review each situation on a case-by-case basis.

When Are Liability Waivers Used in California?

Liability waivers are used in many different situations. Most often, however, they may be used by:

  • Fitness centers and gyms: Members who sign these waivers accept the inherent risks of using gym equipment and participating in exercise programs.
  • Childcare/daycare/schools: Parents may need to sign waivers for their children to participate in school activities and sports or to go on school trips.
  • Healthcare facilities: Waivers may be required before an individual will be accepted at these facilities.
  • Recreational businesses: Businesses that offer high-risk activities, such as bungee-jumping, rock climbing or other adventure sports often require guests to sign a waiver.
  • Event organizers: Certain events, such as music concerts, sporting events and festivals may include liability waivers on their tickets or registration forms.
  • Rental facilities: Anytime you rent sporting equipment, such as jet skis, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) or skis, you will likely have to sign a waiver agreement.

In these and other instances where liability waivers are used, businesses hope to limit themselves from liability if an accident or injury occurs.

Can I Refuse To Sign a Liability Waiver?

You can always refuse to sign a waiver. However, be prepared that if you do not sign a waiver, you may not be permitted to participate in the activity.

Additionally, even if you are still permitted to participate, not signing a liability waiver does not necessarily make a business liable if you get injured. A common law doctrine called the assumption of risk may not play out in your favor. Some courts of law, including in California, may interpret this doctrine in such a way that the defendant is deemed not to owe a duty of care to the plaintiff.

An assumption of risk may be either categorized as express or implied:

  • Express assumption of risk is typically what you encounter when signing a liability waiver.
  • Implied assumption of risk transfers liability to the individual choosing to participate in a high-risk activity as long as they have full knowledge of the risks.

Are There Exceptions That May Allow Me To Sue After Signing a Waiver?

There may be some exceptions that would allow you to sue after signing a waiver of liability. However, an attorney needs to review each incident on a case-by-case basis.

Under California law, circumstances that may allow a lawsuit to proceed, even if you signed a liability waiver, include incidents where:

  • You did not sign the document
  • The language used was vague or unclear
  • The plaintiff signed the waiver under duress
  • The waiver was obtained in a deceptive or illegal manner

Additionally, waivers will not be dismissed or protect providers for incidents involving gross negligence, reckless conduct, willful or wanton behavior, or intentional acts.

How Does Gross Negligence Differ From Ordinary Negligence?

A defendant may be deemed negligent if he or she owed a duty of care to the injured party but breached that duty by failing to exercise reasonable care.

Gross negligence involves a much higher level of negligence, such as behavior that shows an extreme or reckless disregard for the safety of others.

Some examples of gross negligence related to waivers of liability include:

  • Failure to inspect and repair or replace damaged equipment
  • Failure to adequately train employees, especially if special certification is required
  • Failure to adhere to local, state and federal laws and/or guidelines
  • Failure to take reasonable steps to mitigate known dangers/hazards
  • Failure to have an appropriate on-site first aid kit available

Injured After Signing a Waiver of Liability? Call Our Trusted Law Firm for Help

At Arnold Law Firm, we are prepared to discuss your situation and determine whether you may have legal options for seeking compensation.

If you were injured due to the gross negligence of another party, we have the resources and staff to investigate your case, gather strong evidence on your behalf and seek full and fair compensation for your damages.

We recommend seeking immediate medical attention following your accident to protect your health and to help link your injuries to the incident.

There are no upfront costs to get started or throughout the legal process. We only get paid if you get paid.

Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. (916) 777-7777