If you get injured due to someone else’s carelessness or recklessness, that party may be financially responsible for your injuries and related medical bills. If you signed a personal injury liability waiver, however, you may have given up your right to hold someone legally accountable. Learn more about liability waivers – including when they are unenforceable – to find out if you have a claim.
How Do Liability Waivers Work?
A personal injury liability waiver is something you may have to sign before participating in an event or activity that poses foreseeable injury risks. These waivers are designed to protect the creator from liability (legal responsibility) if a participant gets injured – even if the entity was negligent and this is what caused the injuries.
Common activities in Texas that require participants to sign personal injury liability waivers include:
- Amusement parks
- Bungee jumping
- Daycare centers
- Equipment rentals
- Skiing and snowboarding
- Sporting events
- Trampoline parks
- Vehicle rentals
In some scenarios, you may be given a written liability waiver that you must fill out and sign before you can participate in an activity. Otherwise, accepting the terms of a liability waiver may be implied when you purchase a ticket. When you buy a cruise ticket, for example, the liability terms you are automatically agreeing to are in fine print on the back. Either way, once you agree to a liability waiver, you may forfeit your right to hold the entity legally responsible for your injuries.
Can You Still File a Lawsuit With a Personal Injury Liability Waiver?
Liability waivers are not infallible. In certain circumstances, it is possible to work around a liability waiver and hold a party accountable for negligence. However, the fact that you signed a personal injury liability waiver will make a lawsuit more difficult. In Texas, a defendant’s attorney may use the assumption of risk defense against you to combat liability for your injuries. This defense states that since you assumed the known risks of an activity, the defendant is not liable for any injuries suffered.
You or your personal injury lawyer will have to prove that you are still eligible to file a lawsuit after signing a waiver based on an argument such as:
- An invalid or unenforceable waiver. An attorney will analyze the liability waiver you signed to search for issues that could make it unenforceable. A liability waiver must contain clear and unambiguous language, for example, and cannot go against public policy.
- Failure to warn of known risks. If a liability waiver (or the defendant) fails to clearly list the foreseeable injury risks associated with an activity or event, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit.
- Gross negligence. Although a liability waiver can protect a defendant from lawsuits brought on the basis of negligence, no waiver can prevent liability for gross negligence, recklessness, intent to harm or a wanton disregard for the safety of others.
Other exceptions that could make a liability waiver invalid are if your injuries are from a defective product or due to a misrepresentation of fact. A manufacturing company cannot use a waiver to avoid liability for a defective product that injures a customer. In addition, a defendant misrepresenting the activity could constitute fraud, which will invalidate a liability waiver.
What to Do If You Were Injured After Signing a Liability Waiver
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident after signing a personal injury liability waiver in San Antonio, consult with an attorney for assistance. Hiring an attorney can be crucial for protecting your rights, documenting your injury, and bringing a case against one or more defendants. Your lawyer can help you navigate the unique challenges that may arise during a personal injury case involving a liability waiver or the assumption of risk defense.
For more information about personal injury liability waivers in Texas, consult with a lawyer from The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C.