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Shine Lawyers | Young people signing a waiver before an activity

I’ve signed a waiver. Does that mean I can’t claim for compensation?


The area of law that governs the signing of waivers is not straightforward and there are many considerations to take into account beyond the mere signing of the waiver, such as state and federal consumer laws. Although this is a complex area of law it is still possible that you can make a claim so it is vital to seek legal advice before dismissing your right to claim.

Waivers are usually signed before you participate in an adventure activity, step into an amusement park or sign up to use a public gym or pool.

Generally speaking, these waivers usually specify that you understand and accept the risks associated with the activity and that you waive the right to sue if you are injured. It’s understandable to assume that if you’ve signed a waiver, there’s no legal recourse for you if you suffer a personal injury during the course of that activity.

However, it’s more complicated than that. Signing a waiver might make bringing a claim a more challenging process, but it definitely doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

Liability Waiver Definition

A liability waiver can be best described as a legal contract between the organiser(s) of the activity and the participant. By signing it, the participant acknowledges that they’re aware of inherent risks they undertake when taking part in the activity and they agree that the service provider won’t be held responsible for any injuries that occur in the course of the activity.

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

There is no straightforward yes or no answer here.

If you can prove that the activity provider’s duty of care was breached, you may be able to make a claim. Examples of this include equipment that wasn’t properly maintained or staff that weren’t properly trained.

The key is to prove that the provider who owed you a duty of care was negligent and that your injuries occurred as a result of their negligence.

If your injuries occurred as a result of the normal risks associated with the activity and not due to negligence on their part, your claim is a lot less likely to succeed.

Are waivers enforceable?

Another way to claim compensation is to prove that the waiver isn’t enforceable.

Before you embark on the activity, you must be made aware of and agree to any waiver clauses. In the case of unique or especially dangerous clauses, the activity providers must make extra effort to ensure that you understand it.

Also, contracts must be very specific and clear in their use of wording. If a contract’s use of language is so ambiguous that the person signing isn’t certain of what they’re waiving their rights to, it increases the chance that a court will decided the waiver is unenforceable.

Contact us

If you’ve signed a waiver but suffered an injury during the activity, you may not be sure whether you have a claim or not. Perhaps you strongly suspect that there was a duty of care breached but need to discuss it with an expert. Shine Lawyers have liability waiver agreement experts who can advise you on whether you have a claim for Public Liability compensation and help you to seek justice. To find out more, speak to one of our experts and begin the process.

Written by Shine Lawyers on March 11, 2019. Last modified: March 20, 2019.

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