How Signing a Waiver Will not Foreclose Your Option to Sue


Jared: Hi, I'm Jared Richards. I'm one of the partners at Clear Counsel Law Group. One of our readers has asked, "If I sign a release form concerning possible injuries, is there anything I can do if I get hurt?" The answer is sometimes. A lot of times companies and doctors, for example, will make you sign waivers acknowledge that there are certain possibilities of danger. Now different courts handle these different ways. Quite frankly, different judges handle these differently. In general, just because you acknowledge that there's a possibility that you might be injured doesn't necessarily give the person who injures you license to act negligently. They still have a level of duty and care that they have to perform.

Now the fact that you've sign a waiver for potential injuries is never helpful, but what you need to do is take that waiver to your attorney, talk with him, and ask that attorney if this is something that you can get around. Sometimes there is, sometimes there isn't. It's a very case-specific thing, but the general principle is was the injury that you received foreseeable at the time that you signed that waiver. Is it something that that waiver really was meant to address, and is the injury the result of somebody else's negligence that happened after you signed the waiver? If so, then there's a chance you might be able to get around it.

Brian: A quick question. Is it different if an establishment posts a sign saying they're not responsible for an injury? Is that different than signing a waiver?

Jared: No, I don't know that a unilateral posting of a sign saying they're not responsible for a injury actually gets them out of anything. I would be pretty skeptical actually on that.

This all goes down to issues of fair play and notice. For example, if there's a sign that says wet floor, and it was noticeable and you saw it, then maybe the person's not responsible for that injury. If there's just a big sign on the establishment saying I'm not responsible for any injury, I'm not sure that I buy that. I'm not sure that saves them from anything.

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