Are Liability Waivers Enforceable if You Get Hurt in Orlando?

injuryWith gorgeous weather throughout the year, Orlando attracts millions of locals and tourists looking for adventure sports that involve exciting activities like hang-gliding or parasailing. In order to participate, many of the companies offering these attractions require that customers sign liability waivers before participating.  It’s no surprise that many people immediately agree to the conditions without a second glance; no thought about the potential hazards crosses their minds. By signing this waiver, it’s important to understand that you may put yourself in a difficult position to recover compensation if you get injured during your adventures.

Liability Waivers Explained

The purpose of a liability waiver is to protect one’s business against a possible personal injury suit if a customer gets injured during an activity provided by the company. Waivers do not have a set template or style, but communicate as clearly as possible that if you participate in certain activities offered by the business, you acknowledge the risks involved and won’t hold them liable for any potential injuries you incur.

You can expect to sign a contract like that for sporting activities and extreme events like bungee jumping or skydiving. Just remember that when you sign that agreement, you consent to the terms in that paperwork and give up most of your rights to pursue compensation if you get hurt.

Types of Liability Waivers

The majority of liability waivers used today have numerous terms and clauses to protect against lawsuits and other legal pursuits. Typical waiver clauses you might see in a contract you’re about to sign could include:

Assumption of Risk

This clause says you understand the possible hazards related to the activity you signed up for and despite this, you still want to do it. It also will usually state that your participation is voluntary and you accept responsibility for any dangers apparent or implied with that activity.

Release of Liability

By signing a release of liability, you agree that you know what risks come with the venture you plan to undertake. Further, you won’t hold the provider of your entertainment responsible if you have an accident and get injured. That could include injuries caused by other participants, so use caution when giving your consent to these terms. 

Acknowledgment of Understanding

This clause is typically the last one you sign when agreeing to a liability waiver. It summarizes all the other points you agreed to, and your signature is an acknowledgment of this information, that you had any questions or concerns answered in a way that you understand, and you agree to all the terms set in the contract. Once signed, it’s much more difficult to claim you didn’t understand what you agreed to, so thoroughly read the terms beforehand.

Florida Liability Waiver Rules

Several criteria make a liability waiver in Florida enforceable, and if these conditions are not met, you may have the ability to pursue a personal injury case. The law demands that all waiver documentation have clear, unambiguous, unequivocal and specific terms. Courts will examine these qualities by looking at the contract and determining if its format is conspicuous or challenging, and if other members of your party signed the agreement as well.  

Clarity of the Agreement

The document text should be clear and easily understood so that you know what associated risks there are, and the rights you’ll waive after signing the contract.  Specific language requirements are also necessary for enforcement, including the use of all uppercase font in a particular size. 

Unambiguous Terms and Conditions

When a contract states something that could have more than one possible meaning, it’s ambiguous or unclear. This is not always an intentional mistake on the part of the business, but it’s essential to have any vaguely stated conditions explained before engaging in your sports events. 

Explicitly Clear Situations

To understand the potential hazards and injuries you might receive during an activity, Florida law demands the inclusion of explicitly clear descriptions of those situations and dangers in the paperwork. 

Specific About the Terms

Terms need to match the conditions of the waiver as precisely as possible so there is no confusion about dangers, waived rights, or any other stipulation that may release the service provider from liability.

Other Conditions to Remember

Florida law does not allow you to waive your rights to sue if hurt by purposeful negligence or misconduct. The court will evaluate whether the agreed conditions aimed to help the business purposely avoid responsibility even if they intentionally neglected their duties to your safety.

Another condition that may render these types of waivers not enforceable has to do with one party having more power over another. This type of imbalance of bargaining power may cause the court to see the contract as being coerced instead of voluntary. 

Florida Liability Rules for Minors

Parents and guardians have the right to release activity service providers from liability if their child gets injured, dies, or has property damage from a risk associated with the activity they participated in. A minor liability waiver needs the following language according to Florida State Statute 744.301 , and even then an experienced lawyer will need to review and compare the case details against case law in order to determine if enforcement by state courts is possible:

NOTICE TO THE MINOR CHILD’S

NATURAL GUARDIAN

READ THIS FORM COMPLETELY AND CAREFULLY. YOU ARE AGREEING TO LET YOUR MINOR CHILD ENGAGE IN A POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS ACTIVITY. YOU ARE AGREEING THAT, EVEN IF (name of released party or parties) USES REASONABLE CARE IN PROVIDING THIS ACTIVITY, THERE IS A CHANCE YOUR CHILD MAY BE SERIOUSLY INJURED OR KILLED BY PARTICIPATING IN THIS ACTIVITY BECAUSE THERE ARE CERTAIN DANGERS INHERENT IN THE ACTIVITY WHICH CANNOT BE AVOIDED OR ELIMINATED. BY SIGNING THIS FORM YOU ARE GIVING UP YOUR CHILD’S RIGHT AND YOUR RIGHT TO RECOVER FROM (name of released party or parties) IN A LAWSUIT FOR ANY PERSONAL INJURY, INCLUDING DEATH, TO YOUR CHILD OR ANY PROPERTY DAMAGE THAT RESULTS FROM THE RISKS THAT ARE A NATURAL PART OF THE ACTIVITY. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO SIGN THIS FORM, AND (name of released party or parties) HAS THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO LET YOUR CHILD PARTICIPATE IF YOU DO NOT SIGN THIS FORM.

It’s also vital to understand that if your child’s behaviors endanger themselves, or interferes with the operation of the activity, the company is not liable if you signed that waiver

Legal Options After Signing an Orlando Liability Waiver

Despite having signed a valid waiver, you may still have the option to file a personal injury case against the faulty party if you can prove purposeful harm. You will have to demonstrate that the contract didn’t meet state requirements. A seasoned personal injury attorney familiar with contract law is your best resource to evaluate the validity of your contract. Sometimes third-party liability, like other customers or defective equipment contributing to your injuries, may offer a way to seek compensation if the waiver is upheld.

Experienced Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys

Understanding what your rights are after getting hurt during an extreme sporting activity is the first critical step you need to take. Signing a liability waiver before getting hurt isn’t the end of your options, since knowledgeable personal injury attorneys of The Umansky Law Firm will not rest until we explore all the options available. Our firm practices a client-first approach that focuses on a compassionate understanding of your situation, and we dedicate ourselves to representing your case to the fullest extent of the law.  

With more than 100 years of combined experience, we have successfully helped hundreds of victims get relief throughout Central Florida and Orlando. We are members of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers with many successful injury case results on record. We offer a level of service recognized in our community. Contact us today at (407) 228-3838 to learn how our extensive knowledge of liability waiver law applies to your case and the rights available to you.