What are Liability Waivers?

You may not realize it, but liability waivers commonly arise in your life. Whenever you sign up for a new service or membership, a liability waiver is part of the paperwork you sign.

For example, when you pledge membership to a new gym, one of your intake forms is a liability waiver, which is where the fitness center claims it is not responsible if you are injured on gym premises.

These documents are so routine and ubiquitous, most people sign them without really reading them. But when a patron does suffer an injury and the entity whose negligence caused the injury claims it’s not responsible, what is the next step?

What does a liability waiver do?

As mentioned, a liability waiver claims that the service you are enrolling in is not responsible for your well-being and you, the signer, assume the risk of any activity or service in which you engage. But since signing the paper is the only way you’re going to be able to get the service you need, you sign. Liability waivers have become so routine people barely bat an eye at the phrase “is not responsible…”

Also called disclaimers of liability, hold harmless agreements, assumption of risk and indemnity agreements, these waivers are official legal documents, but they often contain basic, boilerplate language that is not specific enough to hold up in court. Depending on the language used, the liability release you signed may not prevent you from holding the other party accountable for your injury, if it was caused by that party’s negligence.

Are liability waivers enforceable in New York?

Some states uphold all liability waivers and some states void all such contracts. New York State law provides that some liability waivers are enforceable, but that those intended to protect gyms, pools, recreation or public amusement establishments violate public policy and will not be enforced. Moreover, liability waivers that do hold water in New York State protect a business from simple negligence and not gross negligence that resulted in serious injury or property damage.

New Jersey is more inclined to enforce a disclaimer of liability, but courts will review each document specifically before agreeing to endorse it.

Protect yourself and your right to health against liability waivers

When an organization claims it is not responsible for an injury they caused through negligence just because you signed a paper, do not take their word for it. Bronx personal injury attorney Evan Kohn has been protecting clients’ right to health and safety for more than 30 years. The Law Offices of Evan W. Kohn has proudly served the Bronx and all of New York City, and Nassau, Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties.

Take back your rights to compensation for your injury by calling our office at 718-409-5500 or contacting us online today.

Attorney Evan Kohn
About the Author: Evan Kohn
Evan W. Kohn is an experienced personal injury attorney serving the New York City area. He handles cases ranging from auto accidents to personal injury, Slip and falls, truck accidents, and medical malpractice.