Liability waivers are becoming an increasingly common way for businesses and organizations to try to avoid injury claims and lawsuits. However, you shouldn't buy into the idea that a liability waiver makes it impossible to sue. A personal injury attorney will want to look at the following four possible angles of attack if a client signed a waiver.
Prominence of the Waiver
Hiding the language of a waiver amid other legalese is always problematic. A liability waiver needs to be distinct from other elements of an agreement. If it is buried in a wall of unrelated text, there's a good chance you can contest it.
What lawyers are looking for when they scan such documents is the use of colors, arrows, or bold text to draw your attention immediately to the fact that there is a waiver. Make copies of whatever documents you signed and provide them to the attorneys you're speaking with so they can evaluate whether the waiver was prominent enough.
Extremely one-sided waivers are considered unconscionable. This means a jury would consider it shocking that anyone was encouraged to sign such a waiver. An agreement must provide reasonable terms for both parties, and any agreement that slams one side without the other party taking on any responsibilities may be invalid.
Gross Negligence, Recklessness, or Malice
No matter how good the attorneys were who drew up the waiver, they can't magically make the legal consequences of gross negligence, recklessness, or malice go away. These are things that a reasonable person would have been aware of prior to the signing of an agreement. For example, a theme park can't knowingly create a ride that launches people 300 mph and then duck out from liability just by pushing a waiver.
To the extent any waiver is enforceable, it only covers what lawyers call general negligence. Generally, negligent conduct is what you would consider everyday accidents. If someone at the theme park forgot for hours to clean up a spilled drink on a walkway and you slipped on it, that might be a form of general negligence.
The Agreement Was with a Minor
Children can't waive liability. If an agreement was signed solely by a minor, it is almost certainly unenforceable.
Even if a parent did sign a waiver, there are scenarios where a childhood victim may pursue damages after they turn 18. It's a good idea, though, to speak with a personal injury attorney to learn what your state's laws are regarding parental waivers.
For more information about working with a personal injury attorney to sue after signing a waiver, contact a local law firm, like Labine Law Firm.