A liability waiver protects California businesses and organizations from some lawsuits. But when they engage in “gross negligence” or “recklessness” and you get hurt, they can still be held legally accountable.
You may sign a waiver of liability when your kids play organized sports, when you visit an amusement park, or when you undergo surgery. These agreements often prevent a hospital, a business owner, or an organizer from being sued over injuries suffered due to normal risks anticipated when engaging in a hazardous activity.
However, victims injured through someone’s extreme disregard of safety precautions can file a personal injury lawsuit even after they’ve put their signature on a waiver.
A Free Consultation for California Accident Victims
Trying to get support for your injury recovery after you’ve signed a waiver form can leave you frustrated. Thankfully, you don’t have to sit and wonder if that waiver prevents you from seeking support from those responsible for your injury.
An insurance company and corporate lawyers may claim it does, but you should never let their say be the final word.
Take advantage of a free, no-obligation case consultation with Maison Law of California. You’ll be able to tell an experienced California attorney about what happened to you. You’ll get a straight answer about what kind of compensation you should expect. You’ll also get help in determining the best path to securing that compensation.
Waiver Forms and California Personal Injury Claims
A waiver form signed before any activity seeks to protect the organizers, business owners and operators, and others from liability if you or a loved one were to get hurt. That document is intended to cover the hazards that come along with potentially dangerous activities like rock climbing, playing football, or visiting a theme park.
You may be going to an amusement park like Universal Studios and not even know you’ve signed a liability form. When purchasing tickets online, you might click a box that says you’ve read all of the terms and conditions that Universal enforces. Most of us just click the box without even reading it.
Your click means you agree to the waiver forms stipulations. Most recently, companies have added clauses that prevent you from suing if you are exposed to COVID-19 on their property.
Normal Negligence and Your Right to Sue
You may have signed a waiver form giving up your right to sue after an injury, but it doesn’t cover every circumstance.
Waiver forms can provide solid protection to businesses for many everyday hazards that cause injuries. They cover normal dangers that are associated with the activity you are participating in. Any harm that could come to you that would be reasonably expected would likely be covered in a waiver form.
If you play tackle football, the organizers can’t prevent you from being tackled. If you work out at a gym, the owners can’t keep you from tearing a muscle. A surgeon operating on you can’t guarantee your recovery.
However, when you are hurt by a hazard that goes beyond the normal expectations of your activity, you can often ignore a waiver clause and file a claim for damages.
You could be at the gym when a harmful chemical left in the bathroom burns your skin or causes eye damage. You may be in surgery when nurses give you a medication that you’ve informed them you’re allergic to. These aren’t normal hazards you should reasonably anticipate when you lift weights or turn your care over to medical staff.
Gross Negligence Vs. A Waiver Form
Many of these instances are examples of “gross negligence.” Gross negligence is the extreme disregard for someone’s safety. A representative for a business may take reckless action that creates extremely dangerous conditions that could cause an accident.
Their reckless behavior almost rises to the level of being intentional because of their awareness of how dangerous a hazard could prove to be.
Gross negligence can also be the lack of action by owners or operators. They may see a major issue on their property and yet not act to repair or remove the threat. When victims get hurt, they may be able to prove that gross negligence was involved and overcome the protections of a waiver form to secure financial aid.
Child Injuries and Waiver Forms
Minors (children under the age of 18) are allowed to sign waiver forms in California, but a parent or guardian must also sign with them. The parent can also sign the form for the child.
A waiver form only signed by a minor isn’t enforceable, but if a parent or guardian signs it, the document will hold up in court. This is why it’s so important for parents to know what they are signing and have a clear picture of the risks involved.
When parents have questions they should question organizers and business owners and ask to see the facilities or premises. They should also investigate the company or organization online to see how strong their reputation is on safety. Finally, parents should be confident in their health insurance coverage and make sure the child is fully protected before agreeing to a waiver form’s terms.
Beating a Waiver Form After a California Accident
Showing that an accident was caused by something more than normal negligence is one way to nullify the protections of a waiver form and earn compensation for victims. Proving gross negligence was involved might earn you the funds you need to pay for your medical care and financial losses.
There are other ways to force businesses to take responsibility for their actions, despite waiver protection:
- Show Proof of a Criminal Act – Waiver forms don’t allow organizers or business owners to break the law. If a statute was broken and you got hurt, the waiver probably won’t protect the at-fault party.
- Show Proof of a Violation of Rules and Regulations – Companies that operate in several states may have one standard waiver form, but not all states follow the same rule of law. If a waiver clause violates California’s liability laws or federal law, it will be thrown out in court.
- Show That a Waiver Form Was Hidden – Demonstrating that a business purposely made a waiver agreement hard to spot might also result in it being thrown out. A waiver may be printed out faintly and impossible to read. It could be concealed at the end of 300 pages of online text or described in confusing language.
Contact a Waiver Form Accident Lawyer Serving California Victims
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident after a waiver form was signed, bring your questions to a skilled California Personal Injury Lawyer. An insurance company will only be giving you advice that benefits their bottom line.
A skilled attorney can examine the details of your case and help find ways to hold a business or organization responsible for your physical and financial hardships.
Contact us at Maison Law for a free confidential consultation and case evaluation after an accident anywhere in California. If we’re retained to represent you, we will work tirelessly to maximize any compensation that you receive for your injuries and damages.