How Do Liability Waivers Affect Your Case?

August 14, 2020

Every personal injury case involves a few complicated factors. Yours could be a catastrophic personal injury, a liability dispute or comparative negligence. It could also be the existence of a liability waiver. A liability waiver is a legally enforceable document that may protect someone from liability for your injuries in Arizona. The validity of a waiver will depend on the scenario.

How Does a Liability Waiver Work?

A liability waiver is a piece of paper that protects the person or entity who drafted the waiver from liability (legal responsibility) for injuries. Upon signing the liability waiver – also called a release of liability waiver or liability release form – the person signing forfeits the right to bring a lawsuit and pursue compensation for an injury. It is a form of liability protection usually used at gyms, daycare centers, sports stadiums and by rental companies. Should an accident happen during the activity the waiver described, the injured victim may be unable to seek compensation because of the liability release form.

Should I Sign a Liability Waiver?

Many activities in Arizona, from riding in an Uber to skydiving, require participants to sign liability waivers before partaking. This is to protect the company that owns the property or is in charge of the activity from legal responsibility should an accident occur. It is entirely up to you whether or not to sign a liability waiver; however, in most cases, refusing to sign means giving up the opportunity to join in the activity or service.

Before signing any type of waiver or release form, read its fine print carefully. Take the document to an attorney, if necessary, for clarification of its terms. First, learn why the person or company requires participants to sign liability waivers. The waiver itself should include a clear description of all known risks related to the activity to give you an idea of why a release form is necessary. Then, read the form over to understand the circumstances in which the waiver will remove the party’s responsibility for your injuries. Never sign a liability waiver without reading and understanding its terms.

Can I Sue If I Signed a Liability Waiver?

Liability waivers do not always have the final say in whether or not an injured party has the right to file a lawsuit. Never assume you do not have the right to file a personal injury claim in Arizona, even if you signed a form or agreed to a release of liability. State courts may not hold a liability waiver as legally binding if it contains errors or fails to fulfill legal requirements.

  • Clear, unambiguous language that is easy to read and understand.
  • Language that does not violate public policy or state/federal laws.
  • A list of the risks and harms for which the waiver releases liability.
  • Participant’s signature, given freely, knowingly and willfully.
  • Other requirements under Arizona law.

The waiver you signed might not be legally binding if it contains an error. Even if it is a legal and valid document, it might not protect the defendant from a lawsuit if your injuries arose from the defendant’s intentional wrongdoing, reckless misconduct or gross negligence. In general, no release form can waive a defendant’s liability for these torts; most forms only release liability for basic negligence. The defendant may still owe you compensation, therefore, if your personal injury lawyer can prove his or her wanton disregard for your safety, misrepresentation of facts or breach of public policy.

I Signed a Waiver and Got Injured, What Do I Do?

The most important task to complete after a personal injury involving a liability waiver is to contact an attorney. A personal injury lawyer will have experience navigating release of liability forms in Arizona. He or she can take a look at the document you signed, interpret its language and let you know if you have grounds for a lawsuit. If so, your lawyer can represent you during insurance claim negotiations or an injury trial in Phoenix while you focus on recovery. A liability waiver could affect your case, but it might not completely take away your right to recover. Speak to an injury lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about your specific claim.