Liability Waivers for Recreational Activity Accidents | Rubén J. Padrón, PA

Liability Waivers for Recreational Activity Accidents

July 27, 2018

Every year, millions of Florida tourists and residents engage in the state’s numerous options for outdoor recreational activities, including water sports, hot air ballooning, biking and horseback riding. Many of these activities are branded as being “safe” and featuring the services of a skilled guide, but any time you participate in such an activity, there’s some level of risk you assume. This is why many companies require that patrons sign waivers of liability before participating.

Recreation companies in Florida are incapable of completely eliminating their liability, but these waivers do help them avoid quite a bit of legal trouble. There are a variety of statutes in the state that limit which activities are able to use waivers.

The waivers require patrons to declare they are aware of the risks they face in participating in the activity, and particularly focus on ”inherent” risks, or risks that are commonly associated with the activity in question. An inherent risk of horseback riding, for example, would be falling off the horse.

Can patrons overcome waivers of liability?

If you’ve been injured in a recreational activity for which you signed a waiver, you might be wondering if there’s anything you can do to overcome the waiver you signed. While it’s possible, it can be a significant challenge. These documents usually are legally binding, and the arguments that do exist are often difficult to argue, but a personal injury attorney in Miami, FL may be able to help.

Here are some examples of strategies that exist to fight against liability waivers:

  • The waiver was too broad in scope: Waivers must be reasonably specific for them to be legally binding. A waiver that is too broad in its scope is a sign that the company is essentially trying to hedge its bets and avoid any type of liability. It should point to inherent risks associated with the activity, as well as negligence on the part of the person participating in the activity, but should remain reasonably focused.
  • The waiver did not apply to the victim: This can be a bit more difficult to argue, as if you signed the waiver and then participated in the activity in question, that’s already two strikes against you. However, if the injury you suffered was not an inherent risk of the activity in question, there’s a chance you’ll be able to argue the waiver did not apply to you. This relates to the next strategy…
  • The behavior of the defendant was grossly negligent: Even if you were injured in an accident related to an inherent risk associated with the activity, you can still seek personal injury damages if the accident could have been avoided were it not for the recklessness or gross negligence of the defendant/company.

Fighting a personal injury battle when you’ve signed a waiver of liability is a daunting task, but with the right approach and an attorney willing to fight for you, you can still succeed. For more information about the best strategy to take in a personal injury case involving liability waivers, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Miami, FL.

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