A liability waiver is a legal document from a company, organization, service provider, or property owner that prevents them from being held financially accountable, should an accident or injury occur on their property, or while participating in their service.
Many people are handed a liability waiver to review and sign prior to participating in an activity or working on a company’s property. Common examples of instances in which you may be asked to sign a liability waiver in North Carolina include:
- Sports activities. Occasionally, if you are participating in a sports event or training—such as playing on a soccer team or registering for a running race, you may be asked to sign a waiver. If you are about to take part in an activity that includes a certain amount of risk, such as ziplining, river rafting, or rock climbing.
- Equipment rental. When renting sporting equipment, such as a bike, three-wheeler, or paddleboard, you may be asked to sign a liability waiver when you fill out your rental agreement. Additionally, some tool and machinery rentals—such as forklifts, air compressors, or lawnmowers—may also require you to sign a liability waiver.
- Employment agreements. When accepting a job offer and signing an employment agreement or contract, you may be asked to sign a liability waiver.
Unfortunately, many people sign liability waiver papers without fully understanding what that signature actually means—or what the potential future restrictions may be included. Knowing more about this type of legal contract can help ensure you’re able to properly weigh the pros and cons of signing.
The role of negligence in liability waivers
By signing a waiver, you’re agreeing to not hold the issuer of the waiver responsible, if you get hurt as a result of their negligence—intentional or unintentional.
In the state of North Carolina, there are two pertinent types of negligence that may lead to a personal injury case:
- If a property owner or service provider fails to maintain a safe environment or service, have faulty equipment, or promote bad advice, they are unintentionally engaging in ordinary negligence.
- When failure to provide a safe environment or service is done so intentionally, with knowing disregard for customer safety, this is considered gross negligence.
If gross negligence can be proven—and you have evidence that any injuries you may have occurred were caused by gross negligence and intentional disregard for your safety, you may be able to sue for damages.
Additionally, North Carolina law outlines a few additional exceptions that may nullify a signed liability agreement:
- If a release is signed through fraud or coercion or with mutual mistakes, the plaintiff may be able to sue the holder of the liability waiver.
- If an activity is considered “public interest” or heavily regulated by state authorities, a signed liability waiver may not be enforceable.
- Flagrant disregard for the safety of others or intentional acts that ultimately cause harm may also nullify a signed liability waiver.
Understanding your options
Worried a signed liability waiver may prevent you from obtaining fair compensation for injuries you’ve endured? Partnering with an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you better understand what your legal options might be.
Our experienced legal team at Wilson Williams Law can help you with a variety of personal injury claims, and talk you through how best to move forward with legal action. Give us a call today at (888) 253-4071 to learn more about how we can help you build or manage a case.
We look forward to helping find a successful resolution to your personal injury case.
Note: This blog is intended to be informational only and shall not be construed as legal advice.