How effective is a waiver of liability?

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Waiver Liability Injury Law

How effective is a waiver of liability?

Many people try to protect themselves by getting everyone they deal with to sign a writing in which others waive liability (give up or release) for potential personal injuries. These waivers or releases have become quite common, especially with respect to recreational activities – for example at ski slopes, bicycle and skate rental shops, bungee jump parks, and amusement parks (just to name a few).

Some sports have been found by courts to be inherently dangerous, such as bungee jumping or skydiving. If a state court has determined that a sport is inherently dangerous, the participants in the sport are said to have voluntarily waived their right to recover in the event of personal injury. This is because the sport is generally known to cause injuries and a person participating in an inherently dangerous sport should know the dangers and by participating has assumed the risk of injury.

Assumption of risk has been held to prevent the owner of a baseball park or a golf course from being held responsible to an injured party who was hit by a stray ball. This often holds true even without a specific waiver of liability. By going to a ballpark or a golf course courts have generally held that a person has assumed the risk of being hit by a ball at ballparks and golf courses.

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