Signing a liability waiver is so commonplace that we often do not take the time to read all of its fine print. We expect some sort of risk when engaging in certain activities or visiting certain places, and thus we believe signing these forms is a simple acknowledgment of those dangers. However, a waiver relieving a company or individual of responsibility for any harm that may occur while visiting a property, including injuries caused by gross negligence, is not always valid. The Miami premises liability lawyers at the Law Offices of Robert Dixon represent people throughout South Florida who have been injured while on someone else’s property. We can help victims determine whether their harm was inherent to the risk taken, or due to a preventable, additional danger for which a responsible party should be held accountable.The Effectiveness of Waivers
Many types of businesses need to use liability waivers due to the inherent danger of the activities in which people engage while visiting their premises. A waiver of liability releases a party from responsibility for harm caused by its negligence. Amusement parks, gyms, and fitness centers, as well as many places that host activities involving children, usually require a customer to sign a waiver. Under Florida law, pre-injury releases are accepted to protect businesses from claims founded on injuries caused by an “inherent risk” of participating in certain activities. In addition, exculpatory clauses limiting or exempting liability for harm caused by negligence are also enforceable, as long as they meet necessary requirements. Waivers that undermine public policy are generally not enforceable.
However, a liability waiver does not automatically relieve an owner of responsibility for every injury sustained on its property, especially those caused by a party’s gross negligence. To be enforceable, a waiver, and all its included clauses, must include an intent that is clearly and unequivocally stated within the agreement. This means that the language of a release agreement must be sufficiently clear so that an ordinary and knowledgeable person would know what it means. This standard does not necessarily require that an agreement specifically state each and every possible injury, or that negligence is included. However, a waiver that fails to expressly state that it releases liability for injuries caused by an owner’s own negligence may indicate that negligence was not intended to be within the agreement’s scope.
Generally, business owners owe those visiting their property a duty of care to provide reasonably safe conditions. Although liability waivers are necessary to protect all parties involved, when these waivers are being incorrectly used to circumvent responsibility for injuries not anticipated by the agreement, owners should be held accountable. Having a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can examine the contents of a liability waiver, as well as investigate the incident leading to the injury, is important in pursuing proper compensation for your harm.Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer in Miami
Being hurt after signing a liability waiver may make you think that you do not have any recourse for compensation. Sometimes that is not the case. If you have been injured in an accident on someone else’s property, the Miami premises liability attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert Dixon can help you determine whether you have a legal right to compensation. Our slip and fall lawyers also assist victims in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and other cities in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. Call (877) 499-4878 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation about your case.