Can You Sue After Signing a Waiver?
The basic definition of a waiver is that it is a written agreement that gives up some form of legal right or claim for the signee. They are usually designed to protect the service provider or other entity from legal action should the signee attempt to pursue a claim against them. This removes potential risks of liability for the entity. The signing of a waiver must also be voluntary.
Types of Waivers
There are many instances where an individual, business, or other entity may wish to have a waiver signed by another party.
This type of waiver is used when an individual will be participating in an activity that could result in a personal injury. Essentially, the signee is acknowledging the inherent risks of the activity they will participate in. They are then agreeing not to pursue legal action against the company providing the service in case a personal injury occurs.
For example, a trampoline park has every guest sign a liability waiver prior to their visit because it is a potentially dangerous activity. If the individual were to land awkwardly and twist an ankle while jumping, they would be unable to sue the trampoline park for the incident because they were fully aware of the inherent risk involved.
When a person is suspected of a crime, they are granted certain legal rights by the Constitution. However, a person can choose to waive those rights in certain instances if they choose to do so. This will often have an effect on the case if it goes to court.
As an example, think of the Miranda Rights that are often portrayed on television and recited out loud to the suspect when an arrest is made. The individual could choose to make a statement to the authorities, therefore waiving their right to remain silent.
In a legal proceeding, such as a divorce, there are procedures in place that must be legally followed. However, the parties involved can waive certain aspects of those procedures by signing a mutually agreed upon contract. If this does not happen, a lawsuit could follow the legal proceeding.
Does Signing a Waiver Prevent You From Suing?
The question remains as to whether or not a waiver fully protects the businesses or entities that provided the legal document. The person who signed a waiver prior to engaging in a proceeding or activity could still file a lawsuit against the entity in certain cases. Even though the person signing the waiver gave up rights or claims when they engaged in certain activities and incurred an injury or damages, some scenarios could allow the waiver to be nullified.
If gross negligence occurred on the part of the company providing the service or activity, then the individual could get the waiver nullified. In Tennessee law, this term is defined as someone who acts with a “reckless disregard for the safety of others.” Put another way, someone who acts with utter unconcern for others’ safety could also be committing gross negligence.
For example, someone could have a gym membership. They may sign a waiver giving up the right to sue in the event of a personal injury that may happen while working out. After all, you are responsible for your well-being. In most cases, an injury that occurred while using gym equipment would protect the gym from being sued. However, if employees failed to maintain the equipment and someone was injured because they were grossly negligent, then the waiver could be nullified and the victim could file a claim to pursue damages.
In a case of gross negligence, the victim would be making the case that the company or other entity did not uphold its responsibility to ensure the safety of others. They could proceed with a claim to recover damages for their injury.
When people sign waivers, they should expect that they have all the information needed to voluntarily give up their rights. This legal document must therefore contain all the necessary information and warnings legibly so that the signee will be aware of what they are giving up.
In some cases, companies could omit required information before the signature occurs. This could be a conscious violation or incidental omissions, such as faded ink on the contract or hidden fine print. The law states that in these types of circumstances, the victim could have the waiver nullified because they were not fully informed about the risk or information before they signed. If a court determines that the individual who signed a waiver was not adequately informed of the potential harm, they could pursue compensation via a liability claim.
How Can You Know? Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
The law in Tennessee surrounding negligence and comparative fault is extremely complex. Most people would be overwhelmed trying to understand it, let alone apply it to pursue fair compensation after an incident results in injuries.
To better understand whether you have the legal ground to pursue a lawsuit against the company or entity for which you signed a waiver, a personal injury lawyer with Mitch Grissim & Associates can help.
Our team is well-versed in liability laws and how waivers can be nullified by gross negligence or uninformed signees. There are other situations in which a waiver would not stop you from taking a legal course of action, but it will come down to very specific details from the incident. Was equipment faulty? Was an individual’s negligence bad enough to warrant a nullified waiver or is it ordinary negligence on the part of the signee?
Whether you are concerned about suing after signing a liability waiver, criminal waiver, or procedural waiver, our legal team in Nashville, TN can assist you with understanding your case.
Call the Experts Today
If you believe a business or other entity may be at fault for your injury even if you had to sign a waiver, call our office today at 615-255-9999 to get a free consultation and speak with a lawyer who will offer sound legal advice. We protect our clients and their rights in these scenarios and would love to help you pursue the compensation that you deserve.