Can You Still Sue if You Signed a Liability Waiver in Florida?
Today more than ever, many of the things we do require the use of a contract. Everything from participating in a marathon and rock climbing to playing sports requires signing a contract. In most of these contracts, there are liability waiver clauses all participants must agree to before they can partake in the specific activity. As you will see in this article, waivers exist to protect service providers from liability by limiting your right to sue. However, signing a waiver does not always bar you from filing a claim against business or operation for any injuries you suffer. Miami personal injury lawyer Prosper Shaked discusses more about liability waivers and the possibility of suing after signing one.
What is a Liability Waiver?
A liability waiver is a legal agreement between a participant and a service provider. Through this contract, the participant relieves the service provider of liability in the event of an injury. These agreements are often seen in many sports settings and extreme recreational activities such as bungee jumping, zip lining, jet ski rental, and other activities.
When you sign a waiver, you voluntarily agree to the terms expressed in the contract. Under many of these terms, you relinquish your right to sue in case of an injury.
Typical waivers contain a combination of clauses the participant must agree to if they want to partake into a particular activity. Most liability waivers include multiple terms to cover various legal avenues to a lawsuit. Some of the most common waiver clauses include the following:
Release of Liability
A release of liability clause commonly states the participant acknowledges the risks and dangers associated with a particular activity and will not hold the party running the event or activity liable for any injuries they suffer by accident. For instance, triathlon athletes often sign waivers containing release of liability clauses where they free the service providers from liability for things like falling, being stepped on by other runners, and other common injuries they could face.
Assumption of Risk
An assumption of risk clause commonly states the participant acknowledges the risks and dangers associated with an activity and is willing to participate anyway. Furthermore, the participant voluntarily and freely has to accept and assume the responsibility for all the risks and hazards associated with such activity.
Acknowledgment of Understanding
The acknowledgment of understanding clause is usually at the end of the release form. This is a recap of all preceding provisions and states that the participant had the opportunity to review the document and clarify any doubts before the final signature. Signing a clause like this makes it harder for someone to later claim they misread or did not understand the waiver.
Can I Sue If I Already Signed a Liability Waiver in Florida?
If a waiver is written properly, signing it will mean that you give up your right to sue. If you can show that there were deficiencies in the contract, it may be thrown out, and you might be allowed to sue normally. A liability waiver in Florida must meet specific criteria to be enforceable: every waiver document must be clear, unambiguous, unequivocal, and specific.
Clear text means the signee can understand the language used within the document.
Unambiguous refers to the use of concrete terms, not terms open to several interpretations.
Unequivocal refers to the specific situations the waiver applies to.
Specific means that the terms address the details of the waiver as closely as possible.
If the plaintiff can prove the legal contract doesn’t meet the necessary criteria to be valid, then the plaintiff should be able to file a lawsuit against the negligent parties instead of following the contract. A personal injury attorney can help you through this process.
Even if you have signed a valid liability waiver that blocks you from suing for accidents and negligence, you can usually still file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault parties for intentional harm. Under Florida law, you cannot waive your right to sue a party if their intentional misconduct caused your injuries. You may also be able to sue other entities and individuals that are not a party to the contract, such as the manufacturer of a negligent product or safety device or another participant or customer that caused your injury.
Miami Personal Injury Attorney Handling Liability Waiver Cases in Florida
Liability waivers offer protection to service providers such as businesses, sports clubs, and other entities. However, you should keep in mind there are legal avenues injury victims may be able to pursue even after signing a waiver. A skilled personal injury lawyer can guide you through the entire claim process. If the intentional actions of the at-fault parties caused you head injuries, back injuries, or any other harm, you need immediate legal assistance. To learn more about your potential claim in a free, confidential consultation, call The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked today at (305) 690-0244 today.