Can You Sue After Signing a Liability Waiver in Texas?
Posted on June 18, 2021
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If you engage in an activity with known injury risks, you will most likely be asked to sign a liability waiver. Signing means that you accept the risks associated with the activity and that you are releasing the person or party from financial responsibility (liability) should something go wrong and you suffer an injury. Signing a liability waiver, however, does not necessarily mean you are not allowed to sue.
What Is a Liability Waiver? Should You Sign One?
A liability waiver is a common type of legal document used by individuals and businesses to prevent them from having to pay for medical bills, legal fees and property repairs if an activity injures a participant. You often do not have a choice except to sign a liability waiver if you wish to participate in a risky activity, such as going to the gym or attending a baseball game. Common places where you may have to sign a liability waiver include:
Sports stadiums and fields
Most liability waivers state that the party that created the waiver is protected from financial responsibility even if that party is negligent. In personal injury law, negligence is the careless failure to adhere to the anticipated standards of care, resulting in injury or harm to another person. In other words, a negligent party breaches a duty of care and causes harm.
Most personal injury lawsuits are based on the legal theory of negligence. If you signed a liability waiver, however, you may have signed away the right to file a lawsuit based on negligence. This does not mean that you do not have any legal options. You may still have the right to bring a lawsuit against a negligent or reckless party in certain circumstances.
What Makes a Liability Waiver Legally Enforceable?
The first question to ask when determining if you have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit after signing a liability waiver is whether the waiver is valid. If the waiver is not valid, it is not legally enforceable. In Texas, a liability waiver must meet certain requirements for the courts to uphold it:
A written document that has the participant’s signature (or a parent’s signature if the participant is under the age of 18)
A waiver of liability that is express and conspicuous, meaning that it is not hidden in a longer contract
Language that is clear, concise and unambiguous
A precise list of the risks or hazards that are known to be involved in the activity
Wording that does not violate public policy
If you are not sure whether or not the liability waiver you signed in Dallas is legally valid, print out a copy and bring it to an attorney. If the attorney finds something wrong with the document, it may be void, giving you the right to file a lawsuit for a recent injury.
Is it Still Possible to Sue With a Liability Waiver?
The answer to this question depends on the unique elements of the case. It is possible that the liability waiver contains an issue that makes it invalid on a legal level. It is also possible that the defendant’s actions go beyond simple negligence and into gross negligence, recklessness or the malicious intent to harm. In this scenario, a liability waiver will not protect the individual or entity from liability for his or her wrongful acts.
There are ways to work around a liability waiver in Texas, especially if the individual or business that attempted to avoid liability made a mistake that put you at undue risk of serious bodily injury. Find out if you have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit in Dallas despite signing a liability waiver by bringing your case to an attorney for a review. A personal injury attorney can read the language of the contract you signed and let you know if you can still file a lawsuit.