Injury and Liability Waivers in Florida: How Does Signing A Waiver Affect Your Case?

by Nov 17, 2020Negligent Security, Personal Injury, Premises Liability

Injury and Liability Waivers in Florida: How Does Signing A Waiver Affect Your Case?

by Nov 17, 2020Negligent Security, Personal Injury, Premises Liability

Injury and Liability Waivers in Florida
Injury and Liability Waivers in Florida

The Impact Injury and Liability Waivers Have On A Personal Injury Case in Florida

Most modern-day organizations, especially those that host events that involve various outdoor activities, require the users who use their premises to sign a liability waiver. Liability lawsuits arising from injuries sustained by a participant partaking in an event organized by an organization, e.g., a school, can significantly burden the organization. Therefore, these organizations can hold events without the fear of liability through liability waivers, even when the injuries sustained are due to the organization’s negligent acts.

Signing Injury and Liability Waivers in Florida

Statistics have shown that most people in Florida when signing injury and liability waivers, do it as a formality. Very few of them care to do a thorough perusal of the contents to establish what they mean. Among the documents filled with legal jargon and strong language happen to be injury and liability waiver agreements. The language used can be disadvantageous to the person signing; this is because the repercussions of the agreements’ contents are not clear from the onset.

Due to the strong language and legal jargon used, those who care to read the waiver agreements find themselves just appending their signatures with the knowledge that the waiver agreement preempts their right to seek damages in the event of an injury. Therefore whenever an injury arises, most injured parties never claim compensation for any form of harm. Due to the lack of knowledge of Florida’s law governing liability waivers, many people deserving compensation never file compensation claims.

One fact you need to be aware of is that every liability waiver drafted and signed in Florida must adhere to the set legal standards. Additionally, Florida has precluded some activities from being waived. Suppose you have signed or are about to sign a liability waiver agreement; you must understand the aforesaid legal standards and the actions that have been granted exceptions from waivers. Proper comprehension will help you establish when you can and can not sue in the event of an injury.

Standard rules to establish the validity of Injury waivers in Florida

Organizations assume that liability waiver agreements exonerate them entirely from liability for negligence. However, the reality is different because once an injured party decides to institute a negligence claim against the organization, the agreement will have to be analyzed in four parts to determine whether it meets the validity test.

Here is the validity test that the liability waiver agreement has to meet in Florida?

Does the waiver agreement have clarity?

Legal jargon and strong language with wording that need interpretation for one to understand can be unclear. Before you sign a waiver, you must know its contents. If the agreement carries clauses that an ordinary person couldn’t understand, its validity can be challenged.

Does the waiver agreement state the rights to be waived?

An organization can not draft a waiver agreement with a general clause on the rights being waived. The rights have to be outlined clearly to understand that by appending your signature on the agreement, you waive certain rights.

Does the waiver have loopholes?

A waiver with loopholes is subject to contest on its validity because loopholes can help challenge the waiver agreement either in whole or in part.

Is the waiver specific on the rights being waived?

The waiver should specify the negligence claims that can be waived; hence you can challenge the waiver’s validity using the negligence claims not set.

Over the years, the case that has been used as precedent and established the above test for establishing the validity of a waiver agreement is the Theis v. J & J RACING PROMOTIONS, 571 So. 2d 92 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1990) case. Therefore where a waiver agreement fails to meet the said test, you can be entitled to recover damages for injuries suffered despite having signed the waiver agreement.

Exceptions to waivers

The Florida laws exempt intentional torts from waivers. Torts such as fraudulent acts, battery, assault, etc., which involve causing willful harm to an individual, can not be waived through a liability waiver agreement. Therefore if you sustain injuries from an assault, an organization can’t claim that you waived your rights to sue. Additionally, a waiver agreement can’t contain clauses that either expressly or impliedly waive your right of seeking compensation in situations where an organization’s actions have defrauded you. Also, you need to note that for a liability waiver agreement to be valid, it must meet the validity test as mentioned; otherwise, the agreement will be held as invalid.

Exceptions in relations to minors

Florida laws have provided exceptions for minors to the extent of the relationship between the activity that caused injuries to the minor and the organization facilitating the activity. For example, in a rock climbing activity organized by a school, a fall arising from rock climbing can constitute a valid ground for a waiver; hence injuries sustained can’t be enforceable as against the school. However, in instances where the fall’s cause was due to slippery walls, then in such a scenario, the slippery walls is blatant negligence by the school; hence, the right to seek compensation can’t be waived.

As a parent whose child has been injured during a school trip, you might ride along with the knowledge that the pre-injury liability waiver agreement you signed on behalf of your child permanently deters you from bringing a claim for negligence against the school. With the exceptions provided under Florida laws, you must consult an attorney first to analyze the case so that you can establish whether the type of accident and injuries sustained by your child are exempted from liability waiver agreements.

What you need to do before signing a liability waiver agreement either for yourself or for your child

As a parent, guardian, or an individual who intends to sign a liability waiver agreement, some guidelines can help you establish what you are about to commit to.

Read the waiver agreement with great keenness

A waiver agreement is not just a piece of paper that should be signed in haste. Reading every clause of the agreement is one way to familiarize yourself with the contents, as this will help you know what rights you are waiving. The injuries sustained from activities where a liability waiver agreement exists might turn out to be very serious, subsequently leading to significant financial expenses. Therefore, it is in your best interest that you know what you are signing up for.

Request for an interpretation of the clauses you do not understand

The language used in the liability waiver agreement might lack clarity or be challenging to understand. Therefore, it is not advisable to append a signature on a document whose language you are not familiar with. There are various parties from whom you can request interpretation of the clauses.

The organization requiring a waiver should explain in detail to the signee on what the contents of the agreement are. Contacting an attorney who is duly experienced in Injury waivers in Florida is also one of the most diligent ways through which you can understand the contents of a liability waiver agreement.

Contacting an Injury and Liability Waivers in Florida Attorney

Suppose you sustain injuries from a situation whereby you signed a waiver agreement. You need to contact an attorney as soon as you can for an analysis of your case. As mentioned earlier, the waiver has to meet a four-part test, and it can’t contain clauses waiving rights to sue for intentional torts. Further, in the case of a minor, some exceptions are applicable. An attorney can help point out the parts that invalidate the waiver agreement and proceed to fight for your rights in court.

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