Overcoming Waivers in Personal Injury Litigation

Overcoming Waivers in Personal Injury Litigation
How is liability determined in a slip and fall accident?

If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, the law allows you to get compensation from the defaulter. Not only will you be compensated for the physical pain and suffering caused, but you can also get pecuniary damages for losses incurred.

However, if you’ve already signed a liability waiver or disclaimer of liability, you have good cause for concern. Liability waivers operate to absolve one contracted party of compensatory responsibility to another contracted party injured due to risks inherent in an activity.

Liability waivers are valid contracts, and the law must respect them as such. But you’re in luck! There are some cases where the law would disregard a release and allow you to file a personal injury claim, regardless of its existence. We’d expatiate on this in this article.

How Valid Is a Liability Waiver?

A liability waiver, like a regular contract, needs specific elements to make it enforceable. These characteristics differ from state to state, and you should be acquainted with that of Connecticut. Generally, however, for a waiver to be enforceable, they should:

Lack Ambiguity

All contracts should be clear and unambiguous; a waiver is no exception. The words used in the release should be clear, precise, and understandable. A reasonable man should be able to read the waiver and have no doubts whatsoever about its intentions.

Be Prominently Placed

Some companies and organizations try to trick their clients into signing waivers by printing such disclaimers in very tiny, unreadable prints. They may also hide them in places that the reader is likely to overlook. This way, many claimants sign waivers without knowing that they did. Some states prohibit this action and demand that waivers be written in bold prints and placed in prominent positions.

Be in Line With Public Policy

Any waiver that negates public policy would, to the extent of such negation, be ineffective. Waivers should always be in sync with the laws and policies of the state that guides them.

Be Signed by the Claimant

As a contract, a waiver would be ineffective if the claimant didn’t sign it. In the same vein, a company cannot enforce a waiver signed by a party other than the claimant.

Include the Risk That Caused the Injury

In some states, the waiver should be explicit as to what risks it wishes to deny responsibility. Any risk that isn’t contained in the waiver would not be deemed waived.

Can I Still Sue After I Signed a Liability Waiver?

As with every general rule, there are some exceptions with liability waivers. Even in states that enforce waivers, you can still pursue a personal liability claim if you can prove the following:

The Waiver Was Ambiguous, Violated Public Policy, or Was Not Signed by the Claimant

We have already discussed the elements of a valid waiver. Any waiver that is found lacking in any of those elements would be deemed unenforceable. That means that a diligent claimant should review the waiver’s provision and search for any lacunas to be exploited. If the release is ambiguous, against public policy, or signed by a third party, such a waiver would not be enforced.

The Defendants Were Grossly Negligent

A waiver should not be an excuse for gross neglect, and it doesn’t absolve the defendants of their duty of care towards the claimants. While the courts may overlook mere negligence, they wouldn’t overlook gross negligence. In proving gross negligence, it is not enough to say that the defendant failed in his duty of care towards the claimant. The claimant must prove that the defendant was intentionally negligent or stubbornly refused to exercise his or her duty of care.

Aeton Law Can Help With Legal Aid

In some circumstances, you can still commence personal injury litigation even with the existence of a signed waiver. But it would help if you had a lawyer to direct you on how to go about it. Aeton Law would connect you to a highly experienced personal injury attorney whenever and wherever you need one.

Our personal injury attorneys would listen to you and answer all the questions you have concerning your case. They will ease your fears and would let you know if you have a chance at getting compensation. If you do, they’re ready to help you with the processes from start to finish.

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