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What’s in a Liability Waiver?

February 27, 2012
Colson Hicks Eidson

Residents and vacationers in Florida are well aware of the many recreational activities at their disposal. Parasailing, boat rides, cruise ships and personal watercraft are a few of the rentals and services available along the coastline. Chances are you will sign a document called a “liability waiver” if you pay for any of these services. It says that you are relinquishing certain legal rights in exchange for the service, which might include your right to sue if you suffer personal injuries.

Liability waivers are very strongly worded in favor of the operators; they not ironclad, however. A service provider can be held liable under certain circumstances even if they have a signed liability waiver. As with any legal contract, the language in the waiver is crucial and you should always take the time to read and understand what you are signing. That is easier said than done since most waivers are lengthy and difficult to read. However, Florida courts strictly construe liability waivers and they can rule that the waiver does not protect the service provider from liability.

The waiver must be clear and concise, which means it must identify all parties and meet other legal requirements. In most cases, a service provider cannot prevent you from suing if their negligence caused your injury. Also, if you can show that they presented the waiver to you in such a way that you did not know what you signed, the court may not uphold the waiver.

Have you signed a liability waiver in the recent past?

Colson Hicks Eidson – Florida injury lawyers