Generally speaking, if you're injured by someone else's negligence you can sue for compensation. The exceptions to that rule may be statutory (some laws prohibit injury lawsuits in certain circumstances), procedural (you may need to file a notice with a government entity before suing), or legal (you may be partially at fault yourself).
One of those legal exceptions is if you've waived liability for a person or parties if you get injured. Waivers normally pop up at schools or day care, gyms or fitness facilities, and risky recreational activities like skiing, skydiving, or river rafting. Often, people think signing a liability waiver means you can never sue if you're injured, but there are exceptions to that rule as well. Here are five of the biggest questions regarding waivers in injury cases:
Many school waivers aren't mandatory, and some may not be enforceable. Still, parents should read all school liability waivers carefully before signing. If the waiver is not essential to your child's participation in the school activity, perhaps avoid signing it. But also know that signing one doesn't always preclude you from suing if your child is injured due to the school's negligence.
Just about every gym has a complex injury waiver they require members to sign. And whether these waivers will prohibit you from filing a lawsuit if you're injured may depend on the language of the waiver, where you file your suit, and the nature of the injury.
Just like schools, day care facilities will try to limit their liability if a child is injured while in their care. But day care centers can't waive liability for injuries or illnesses resulting from their own negligence -- most courts won't enforce these liability waivers so as not to encourage negligence.
The waiver that most people don't know they're "signing" is the one on the back of your ticket. Most sporting event tickets have a waiver on the back that says you assume the risk of injury by attending the event. That waiver, plus what's come to be known as "The Baseball Rule" has precluded many foul ball injury lawsuits, but the legal tide might be turning against teams.
Private entities aren't the only ones who use waivers. Find out when you might be able to sue city hall.