There are a number of misconceptions about the legality of liability waivers in New York State.
A liability waiver is a legal document that a person participating in an activity may sign acknowledging the risks involved in their participation in order to eliminate legal liability from the company or person responsible for the activity. Disclaimers have become increasingly common in recent years, regardless of whether the activity in question actually poses a hazard or not.
However, there are a number of misconceptions about the legality of liability waivers in New York State, with some types being enforceable and others failing statutory scrutiny. But regardless, if you signed a waiver and then engaged in any activity that resulted in injury, it is imperative that you immediately consult a qualified attorney and discuss your legal options.
Despite the belief that a waiver of liability protects the entity that asked you to sign from all remedies if you are injured, this is not the case in every situation and depends entirely on individual circumstances. For example, if you sign a waiver before engaging in a hazardous activity, but then injure yourself on Company premises by an event that does not involve the above activity, the Company may still be legally liable for personal injury as a Waiver of Liability does not serve as an all-encompassing safeguard against all known or unknown possibilities.
However, this does not prevent the parties from convincing you that you cannot seek redress because you have signed a waiver, whether or not in fact you do so. Again, in these cases, it is imperative not to do the work of the offending party – who does not have your best interests in mind – and instead consult a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney to determine the best way to obtain the funds to find compensation you deserve.
In New York State, the enforceability of such a waiver depends on the language of the waiver. A signed liability waiver is not a blanket release from liability for operators of a hazardous activity. In many cases, the specific risk must have been known and assessed by the plaintiff in order for the primary presumption of risk to take effect prior to the injury. Courts can refuse to enforce a general disclaimer if the signer is not informed of the specific risk that caused the breach.
In addition, due to the inherent risk involved in participating in them, the New York General Code of Obligations automatically disqualifies waivers from various types of activities and businesses, such as: B. Gymnasiums, amusement facilities, public swimming pools and leisure facilities. Even where the operator of a facility is paid for by an individual, a disclaimer is unenforceable, although some parties may attempt to cast doubt on this fact by claiming that the facility was used for educational or training purposes rather than recreational purposes, or that someone other than the injured party had paid the entrance fee. In these cases, you need a qualified attorney to represent you to ensure your rights are not violated.
Most companies use disclaimers not only to protect themselves from possible liability should an individual be injured in an accident, but also to inform participants of potential hazards associated with this activity, to weed out those who may not participate would like risks were disclosed. In this sense, a liability waiver can protect both the company and the person who signed it.
Liability waivers also allow companies and other entities to keep tabs on the circumstances of accidents as far as insurance carriers are concerned, who may ultimately be the one paying injury compensation if the company is found guilty of defamation.
Minors under the age of 18 in New York State are prohibited from signing liability waivers; Therefore, any instance where this occurs, even if a parent has signed this waiver for their minor child – for example, for a school field trip or sporting event – the waiver will automatically become void, particularly in the event of injury or death.
In addition, New York State law does not allow a waiver of liability to supersede a person’s right to recover from a case of negligence or where the language of a waiver is not clear.
Want to know more about the legality of disclaimers? Have you been injured due to the negligence of a company that made you sign one? Contact the Accident Attorneys at The Law Firm of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP now at 866-878-6774 or fill out our simple form for a free consultation.