Can I File a Claim if I Signed a Liability Waiver?
Feb. 7, 2023
As we all know, accidents happen. If you’ve recently been injured while participating in an activity or event that required a liability waiver, you may be wondering if the waiver is enforceable. To answer this question, you need to understand three things: (1) what a liability waiver is, (2) how it works, and (3) whether liability waivers are recognized as valid in Texas.
If you were injured in an accident after signing a waiver of liability, reach out to an experienced attorney to discuss your legal rights and options. As a personal injury attorney at Jose Orihuela, Attorney at Law, I can review the details of your case and help you determine whether or not you can file a claim and recover damages despite signing a liability waiver.
From my offices in Houston and Webster, I serve injured individuals and their families throughout Texas, including Clear Lake, Santa Fe, Pasadena, Dickinson, South Houston, League City, Friendswood, Seabrook, Alvin, Bacliff, and Kemah.
What Is a Liability Waiver?
A liability waiver is a document that releases an individual or entity from any legal responsibility for injury or damage resulting from activities such as sports, amusement parks, zoos, carnivals, concerts, etc.
For example, on average, an estimated 1,300 Americans get injured in amusement parks every year, according to statistics provided by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). However, many of those who get injured in amusement parks have a hard time obtaining compensation for their injuries because they usually sign a liability waiver.
Liability waivers are usually signed by participants prior to the start of the activity and are used to protect businesses from potential lawsuits resulting from an accident or injury. Liability waivers also go by other names, including exculpatory clauses, legal release, and hold harmless clauses.
Is it Enforceable When an Accident Occurs?
The short answer is yes. However, the enforceability of a liability waiver depends on several factors, including state law and the language of the document itself. In some states, courts have held that liability waivers are unenforceable if they are too broad or do not clearly indicate that the signer is releasing another party from any legal responsibility for injuries sustained during activities where a waiver was signed.
Additionally, many states have laws that limit when and how liability waivers can be enforced. For example, in some states, minors cannot legally sign waivers without parental consent, which renders any such waivers unenforceable.
It’s also important to note that even if a court finds that a person has waived their right to sue for damages in exchange for participating in an activity, the court may still allow the plaintiff (the person bringing suit) to recover damages if they can prove gross negligence, malicious intent, or recklessness on the part of the individual or entity responsible for providing the service or activity where an injury occurred.
What Is a Valid Liability Waiver According to Texas Law?
When it comes to determining if you have a right to pursue a legal claim if you signed a liability waiver, you first need to determine whether or not the waiver is valid. Texas recognizes waivers of liability as valid as long as they meet the following requirements:
The document is written;
The document contains the participant’s signature;
The waiver is conspicuous and express;
The language in the waiver is clear and unambiguous;
The document contains a list of the risks/hazards involved in the activity in question; and
The document’s contents do not violate public policy.
If you do not know whether the waiver of liability that you signed is valid or not, bring a copy of the waiver to a knowledgeable attorney for review.
Fighting to Protect Your Rights
Just because you signed a liability waiver does not necessarily mean that you will not be able to file a claim and seek compensation for your injuries suffered in an accident. Determining whether or not a liability waiver is enforceable depends on many factors, which is why you’ll want to consult with an experienced attorney. Contact Jose Orihuela, Attorney at Law, today to discuss your particular situation. I’m ready to fight to protect your rights.