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Signing A Waiver Of Liability To Participate In A Dangerous Activity

Participating in extreme sports or recreational activities can be fun and exciting. In some instances, it can also be dangerous.  Businesses involved in providing the equipment or space to engage in dangerous types of activities often require the participant, or their parents in the case of a minor, to sign a waiver of liability.  These waivers are supposed to protect the business and should not be taken lightly by the participants.

What Is A Waiver of Liability?

In its most basic terms, a waiver of liability is an agreement between the business and the customer in which the customer agrees not to sue the business if he or she gets hurt through a service provided through the business. Waivers of liability are generally enforceable in Ohio unless they are found to be ambiguous or contrary to public policy.

Waivers that expressly spell out the danger involved in a certain activity and the effect of the waiver of liability, are likely to be clear or unambiguous enough to be binding on the customer. However, a waiver does not have to use certain words to be deemed unambiguous.  It is more important to show that the customer understood the plain language of the waiver.  If the waiver is unclear or could be interpreted in more than one way, then the waiver is likely to be found to be ambiguous.

Waivers are also deemed to cover injuries that are foreseeable in the type of activity the participant is engaged in. Any injury that is not foreseeable or not ordinarily expected in the kind of activity the participant engages in, can be argued to be outside the scope of the waiver. If a person is engaged in racing, he or she may sign a waiver to release the business providing the racing course from liability.  If the driver later gets injured from crashing into a wall, this kind of accident may be considered foreseeable or inherent in the activity.

Another aspect of waivers that is raised as part of a defense is that the participant assumed the risk of the activity he or she was participating in at the time of the accident.  A person is considered to have assumed the risk of the dangers inherent in an activity unless another person causes the danger by acting recklessly or intentionally.  Most waivers contain language that alerts the participant that he or she is assuming the risk of certain aspects of the activity engaged in.

Let Us Assist You

If you signed a waiver of liability and were later injured as part of a dangerous activity, you may still be able to recover compensation for your injuries, depending on how your waiver was written. Schedule a complimentary consultation with Ed Schottenstein of Schottenstein Law Offices TODAY by calling (614) 467-8474.