Signing a Waiver: What to Know

 

We sign a lot of waivers in our modern lives. From cell phone updates to sky diving, waivers are a pretty common occurrence. However, what do you really know about signing a waiver?

What is a Waiver?

A waiver is an act of intentionally relinquishing or abandoning a known right, claim, or privilege. Waivers are often written so that there is a legal instrument evidencing the act of the waiver.

Liability Waivers

Most waivers that you’ll sign are liability waivers. A liability waiver is a document that an entity will use in order to protect themselves from being sued, especially in the event that you are injured. When you sign this sort of waiver, you are often agreeing to the following:

  • To waive your right to bring forth a claim against the entity.
  • To limit where you can bring a lawsuit.
  • To be subjected to mandatory arbitration.

What to Know

Oftentimes, we’re presented with a waiver right as we’re about to enter an event or participate in an activity. Before you blindly sign it, take a moment to go through the steps below to help protect your rights:

  • Ask if the waiver is required to participate. If it’s not required, don’t sign it.
  • Read the waiver before signing. True, most waivers are lengthy and often typed up in fine print. But you should only really sign a waiver if you have both read and understand the terms it sets forth.
  • Try to Negotiate. You probably won’t be successful, especially if it is a boiler plate waiver and/or the entity does not have legal counsel on standby, but it’s worth a shot. If there is a portion of the waiver that you want to change or remove, ask!
  • Get Legal Advice. If time permits, show the waiver to a lawyer and ask for their advice. Hiring a lawyer also means that they could try to negotiate the waiver on your behalf.
  • Get a Copy. Ask the entity for a copy of the waiver, especially if it is a big physical activity like sky diving. In the event that you are injured, you’ll want to know exactly what the waiver says.

DO NOT SIGN A WAIVER IF:

  • It is not required to participate;
  • You are being pressured into signing;
  • After an accident. Waivers should only be signed before participating in an activity, not after you are already hurt.

Hire a Lawyer

If you need help reviewing a waiver, or if you’ve been injured at an event or participating in an entity’s activity, consider contacting a personal injury lawyer. Your legal team will have the knowledge to examine any waiver you may have signed and help determine what your best course of legal action might be.

Our experienced personal injury lawyers at Kamper & Estrada, PLLC offer free 1-hour consultations. Contact us today!