The desire for excitement and adventure is common in humans of all ages. However, kids, teenagers and young adults are the most susceptible to the allure of dangerous activities. Many modern businesses seek to capitalize on that enjoyment of danger by offering a thrilling or exciting experience to customers or visitors.
In some scenarios, such as a visit to an amusement park, each attraction is subject to careful scrutiny during engineering and is therefore widely recognized as safe. In other environments, the adventure may come at greater risk to the participants. Skiing or snowboarding, parasailing, rock climbing and trampoline park visits are all examples of activities that are both fun and incredibly dangerous.
Most people who participate in these recreational activities will walk away unharmed. However, when an accident does happen, the resulting injuries could prove to be catastrophic or even fatal. Many people are unaware of their actual rights after such an accident, in part because places where people enjoy these dangerous activities often require a waiver.
Liability waivers protect businesses that offer fun experiences
Every single business incurs some amount of liability through its normal operations. Someone can slip and fall on spilled water in the grocery store, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of medical care. People can choke at a restaurant, or someone could wind up dying of a heart attack while enjoying a scary movie.
These incidents are incredibly rare, and, as such, the companies at risk for these kinds of issues typically don't need to take action to protect themselves from that specific form of liability. However, businesses that encourage people to participate in dangerous activities have substantially more liability. In order to secure an insurance policy to keep their business open, they may require each participant to fill out a liability waiver.
The liability waiver is a legal form that effectively says that the individual signing will not hold the business accountable for injuries that occur as a result of the use of the facilities or participation in an event. Signing one of these does not mean that you don't have any right to compensation. It simply limits the scenarios in which you will have the legal right to take action against the company.
When are waivers considered non-binding or illegal?
A standard liability waiver should have specific language within it denoting what liability the business does not assume. For example, at a trampoline park, the liability waiver will likely say that they are not responsible for injuries that result from inappropriate use of their facilities.
If two kids jump and crash into each other, breaking both of their noses, the park is not responsible for that. However, if the park failed to do proper maintenance or otherwise neglected their facilities or safety training for visitors, that may undo the protections created by a liability waiver.
When an injury or accident is the result of a maintenance issue, negligence on the part of staff or similar problems, the parties that signed the waiver may have a way to get out of it. Whether the facility failed to provide basic safety training and equipment, or wasn't properly maintained, you may have options for seeking compensation related to an injury that resulted.