Do Liability Waivers Prevent You From Suing?
You’ve probably signed liability waivers more frequently than any other type of contract in your life; these days, nearly all physical activities and outings involving more than just yourself require one. By accepting that you have a certain chance of being injured or killed during an activity, you can take proper measures to protect yourself, and the company can rest assured that you won’t burn a hole in their wallet should you be hurt in the process. If you have indeed been hurt after signing a waiver or release of liability, you might feel trapped, without any way to pay mounting bills; however, know that that might not be the case.
How Liability Waivers Work
When you sign a liability waiver, you are knowingly surrendering your right to sue an entity if you’re injured during the course of the activity you’re signing on for. If you sign a waiver saying that a fitness club isn’t responsible if you injure yourself with the weights, then they don’t need to compensate you for medical bills you incur by dropping a weight on your foot—simple, right? Well, in truth, it’s not so cut and dry as it sounds. Even if the terms of a liability waiver explicitly state that the company isn’t liable for a specific situation, you might be able to sue regardless, especially if you get help from a Nevada premises liability lawyer. This comes down to the question of enforceability.
Getting Compensation Despite Liability Waivers
In order to get compensation after signing a liability waiver, you’ll have to prove that it’s unenforceable, invalid, or otherwise inapplicable. There are several common factors that can render a liability waiver unenforceable:
- Gross negligence. While waivers do protect entities from normal negligence under Nevada’s Jury Instructions 4.17, this protection does not apply to gross negligence, which is simply an especially negligent act. Simple mistakes and errors are generally considered to be regular negligence, whereas laziness and outright unsafe practices are gross negligence.
- Willful harm. If an owner or employee intentionally harms you during the course of the activity, any liability waiver you signed is moot and void in that context. Waivers only surrender your right to sue in certain circumstances; they do not surrender your right to expect reasonable safety and to not be attacked or knowingly injured.
- Abnormal risks. Reasonable expectations play into liability waivers since you’re only surrendering your right to sue for things you know are risks. If you’re enjoying indoor skydiving, tumbling and breaking a bone while diving is within normal risks; the building collapsing due to negligent maintenance, however, is not, so the waiver wouldn’t apply.
- Unconscionable terms. When looking at legal precedent for unconscionability, we can conclude that unclear and deceptive liability waivers are not enforceable. Excessive legal jargon, “fine print” tactics, unspecific language, and rushing you to sign all can invalidate a liability waiver. If you can’t reasonably, fully understand it, it’s invalid.
- Violation of the law. Obviously, if a term in a waiver or an activity after the fact violates a state or federal law, that law takes precedence. Waivers and contracts are not all-powerful, and cannot supersede larger policies.
Given that most of these attributes are points of contention and debate, it’s vital that you seek the help of a personal injury attorney in Las Vegas. Give Aaron Law Group a call at (702) 550-1111 to schedule a free consultation with a compelling professional who can help you prove that the liability waiver you signed wasn’t enforceable or wasn’t relevant to your personal injury case, thereby securing you the compensation you deserve.