While you may never be able to predict a personal injury, the odds of suffering one are higher if you engage in an activity with known risks or hazards. Choosing to participate in dangerous activities such as cliff jumping or go-kart racing comes with a higher risk of personal injuries. You often have to sign a liability waiver before participating in an activity or outdoor event in Utah. If you signed one of these waivers and then suffered an injury, find out how the liability waiver may affect your Utah injury case.
What Is a Liability Waiver?
A liability waiver is a signed piece of paper that protects someone from financial responsibility for an activity participant’s injuries. A valid waiver is a legally enforceable contract in which a person who participates in an activity acknowledges that he or she assumes the risks involved in that activity. After signing a waiver, the participant typically forfeits his or her right to hold the defendant liable for an injury and related losses. Liability waivers are common in activities and events with foreseeable risks of harm, such as gyms, rock climbing gyms, trampoline parks, theme parks, school field trips, sports, and cruises.
Does a Liability Waiver Mean You Do Not Have a Case?
Signing a liability waiver can make it more difficult to hold a defendant liable for your accident and injury during a dangerous activity. It does not, however, make it impossible. In general, a liability waiver in Utah only protects a defendant from liability for injuries related to ordinary negligence. This is a general breach of the duty of care. It does not protect from gross negligence or malicious intent to harm. If the defendant’s actions went beyond ordinary negligence and into a wanton disregard for the safety of others, you could still have grounds to bring a Utah injury case despite signing a liability waiver.
When Is a Liability Waiver Valid in Utah?
A liability waiver will also not hold up in court if it is not valid. A liability waiver must contain certain key elements to hold up in court in Utah. First, it must be a written contract, not a verbal agreement. Verbal agreements are much harder to argue in court than in written contracts. Second, it must contain clear and unambiguous language. If the language is too difficult to decipher or has loopholes, the liability waiver may not be enforceable.
Third, the liability waiver itself or the defendant must have made the participant aware of the potential risks related to the activity. The waiver must be explicit in expressing the reason for its existence. Fourth, the liability waiver must contain the valid signature of a participant who is of the age of majority (18) in Utah. As minors do not have the legal capacity to enter into valid contracts in Utah, the minor or the guardian may cancel the contract. Furthermore, the signature from an adult must have been voluntary, not signed under duress, false pretenses or coercion.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer for Help With a Liability Waiver Case
Whether or not the liability waiver you signed is legally enforceable will depend on the contract and the circumstances of your accident. Have a lawyer review your case if you were recently injured in an accident that involved a liability waiver and an event or activity with assumed risks. It can be more difficult to hold a defendant liable for your losses in these cases.
While signing a liability waiver does not automatically mean you lose the right to bring an injury claim, it could prevent you from doing so in certain situations. The best way to find out if you still have grounds for an injury claim despite a liability waiver is by consulting with a Layton or St. George personal injury lawyer. Contact a lawyer right away after your accident to initiate a claim as soon as possible.