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Can I claim compensation if I have signed a liability waiver?

What is a liability waiver?

A liability waiver is a type of legal document that is most commonly used for activities that could be considered risky.

By signing a liability waiver, individuals are formally acknowledging that they understand there are inherent risks involved with what they are about to take part in and that they agree they will not hold the activity or service provider responsible if any injuries occur during the course of the activity or service.

While it is most common to be asked to sign a waiver before participating in sporting or adventure activities, you may even find yourself being asked to sign one before having a beauty service, such as laser hair removal, performed. So, if something goes wrong and you are injured during the course of the activity, are you still able to claim compensation if you have signed a waiver?

I’ve signed a liability waiver and have been injured. Can I still make a claim for compensation?

There is no simple answer to this question, and the facts of each case will need to be considered on an individual basis to determine who was at fault and if that party is liable to pay compensation to the injured party. Other factors, such as compliance with laws that protect the public and consumers will also need to be considered to assess whether the waiver should legitimately protect the party asking for it to be signed.

Waiving your rights to hold a party responsible for their negligence does not mean that you have no legal recourse if you are injured, however, it may be more challenging to bring a claim. There are certain factors that will be considered, such as:

  • Whether or not the activity held obvious inherent risks;
  • The way the waiver was worded;
  • When you signed the waiver;
  • If all the risks were made apparent;
  • Whether the activity or service provider owed you a duty of care and if it was breached.

You can also take precautions prior to signing a liability waiver that may help strengthen your claim if you are injured.

What should I look out for when signing a liability waiver?

Liability waivers can be daunting to read. They will often include words such as ‘death’ or ‘injury’, which is not something you want to consider when you are embarking on an adventure. It is important, however, to read the waiver carefully and ensure the language is plain and easy-to-understand English that does not leave room for ambiguity.

In essence, the waiver must be specific and clear so that the person signing it can be absolutely certain of what they are waiving their rights to.

The waiver must be signed prior to taking part in the activity, and you must be made aware of any clauses that state you are waiving your rights to something.

Some activities, such as skydiving, hold high risks that usually do not need to be pointed out to the individual that is taking part in the activity, however, if a level of danger or risk is present and it is not something that would be obvious to a reasonable person, then extra efforts must be made to ensure the signing party understands it.

When might I not be successful in bringing a claim?

It is unlikely that you would succeed with your claim if you sustained an injury or injuries as a result of the normal risks associated with the activity that was not due to negligence on the activity or service provider’s part.

If you have been injured after taking part in an activity or receiving a service that you were asked to sign a liability waiver for, and you need advice on whether or not you can seek compensation, contact us today.

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