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Understanding Your Rights When You Sign a Liability Waiver

Cook County personal injury lawyer, negligence, liability waiver, exculpatory clause, exculpatory agreementIn modern times, it has become common practice for businesses to require that its customers sign liability waivers participating in activities in its place of business. When renting equipment or joining a gym, patrons are often asked to sign one of these forms, and this is especially common when children attend a birthday party at a gymnastics facility or trampoline park.

Waivers are often signed without a second thought — we often assume that everything will work out. Yet what happens if an accident occurs and you are injured after signing a liability waiver? Or worse, what if your children are hurt due to someone’s negligence?

People that signed waivers oftentimes do not contact an experienced lawyer because they wrongfully presume nothing can be done by virtue of the fact they signed a liability waiver. This common misconception results in wrongdoers trampling on the rights of the injured and vulnerable. By contacting an experienced lawyer who can help you understand your rights, justice can still prevail.

The Law Addressing Liability Waivers in Illinois

In legal terms, a liability waiver is known as an “exculpatory clause,” and people (including some attorneys) may be surprised to learn that these clauses are not favored by Illinois law. The law does not favor liability waivers for public safety policy reasons. The law wants to promote businesses and individuals engaging in safe behavior. A liability waiver that is “over broad” and would allow a person/business to avoid responsibility for any and all types of activities would essentially allow people to engage in dangerous conduct and avoid liability by raising the exculpatory agreement as a defense. If allowed, we would be living in a very dangerous world. As a result, these types of agreements are “strictly construed” against the party that benefits from them in order to protect people’s health and wellbeing.

As a result, courts closely scrutinize these types of agreements. Sometimes, certain language will be omitted. Sometimes, the courts will refuse to enforce the entire liability waiver. For example, many people do not know that liability waivers signed by parents for their children are routinely considered unenforceable as a matter of law.

Each liability waiver agreement is different. Every fact pattern surrounding an injury is different. As a result, it is imperative that you have an experienced lawyer review the entire liability waiver agreement in order to assess whether you can hold the wrongdoer accountable for your injuries.

Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney

While it may seem that you have no legal recourse if you or a family member was injured after signing a liability waiver, the law provides you with protections of which you may not know. In these cases, you need a skilled, knowledgeable attorney who can investigate the circumstances of the injury, examine the terms and legality of the waiver, and argue for you to receive the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with our Cook County personal injury lawyer, call Pullano Law Offices at 312-551-1100.

Sources:

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/opinions/AppellateCourt/2013/4thDistrict/4120289.pdf

https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=16594070231218018239&hl=en&as_sdt=6&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

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