Liability Waivers

By Stuart Cappus

From sky-diving and bungee-jumping to go-kart racing and zip-lining, activities like these are called “extreme” for a reason. While they can be extremely exciting, they can also be extremely dangerous. That’s why operators of these and other kinds of businesses often make customers sign liability waivers beforehand.

A liability waiver is a document. More specifically, it is a contract between you and the operator. Essentially, it says that you acknowledge that the activity you’re about to participate in is risky and dangerous, and that if for whatever reason you get hurt doing it you give up or waive your right to sue the operator for damages. In exchange for you signing the waiver, the operator will let you participate in the activity.

Whether a particular liability waiver will be enforceable will depend on the waiver itself, the person signing it and the surrounding circumstances. However, it’s a myth that liability waivers in general are unenforceable. In the right circumstances, they can be successfully relied upon to defeat a personal injury claim. Because of that, if you aren’t comfortable with participating in a risky activity for which you are required to sign a liability waiver, you probably shouldn’t do it.