The US Consumer Product Safety Commission did a recent study where they found that there were around 5,000 amusement park accidents around the country last year. At this time, there are no federal safety regulations for amusement parks. However, there are some states that require amusement parks to pass rigid safety code inspections, but accidents still occur with great regularity.
So if you are at an amusement park, and you are asked to sign a waiver in case of personal injury, what should you know? Here are a few things to keep in mind before putting your signature on anything.
Enforceability of Waivers
Most people have the impression that waivers are standard documents full of fine print, just like any other contract, if properly drafted and executed, a waiver is enforceable. In general to be enforceable, the waiver:
- Must be clearly worded and unambiguous in its intent to relieve any and all legal liability, even liability for negligence.
- Language should be prominent and not be part of the fine print.
- Must be signed by the person about whom it is written. This means that each adult needs to sign a waiver, and the adult needs to sign a separate waiver for each child.
When a Waiver is Not Enforceable
While a wavier may be carefully drafted there are instances where a court may not enforce it, these exceptions may include:
- Gross negligence or willful conduct – If the waiver is found to absolve the operator from gross negligence or willful conduct, the waiver may be found to be invalid.
- Age of the waiver – If the establishment keeps a waiver “on file,” then it may be a valid defense if several months have passed since a waiver was read and signed, or if the waiver did not apply when the injury occurred.
- Inconsistent with state law – If the waiver contains language that is inconsistent with state law, a court may find it invalid.
- Limitations in the waiver – If the waiver is very specific about the types of injuries that it covers, and the damage falls outside of what the waiver specifies, then the waiver is irrelevant.
Contact A Legal Representative
If you have any questions or concerns or are in need of legal advice or representation, please contact Oldham and Smith online or call (352) 292-1620.