The following was originally published on www.sadlersports.com/blog/.
John Sadler responds to a frequently-asked question. Although there is little case law regarding this subject, John provides some “real life” advice.
Actual Client Question:
We were wondering if you require hard signatures on the release of liability form, player parent contract, code of ethics? We do registration on line to where everyone has their own password to login to their childs registration,
The Cohen v. Five Brooks Stable court (2008 Cal. App. LEXIs 222) gave some sound advice to writers of waivers. While acknowledging that California courts hold releases of liability to a high standard of clarity, the court emphasized that “An effective release is hard to draft only if the party for whom it is prepared desires to hide the ball, which is what the law is designed to prevent. . . . A release that forthrightly makes clear to a person untrained in the law that the releasor gives up any claim against the releasee for the latter’s own negligence .
Minnesota joined the list of states that have enforced a liability waiver which was signed by a parent on behalf of a minor child (Moore v. Minnesota Baseball Instructional School, 2009 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 299). Moore signed a waiver for her son releasing the Minnesota Baseball Instructional School from liability arising from injury or loss caused by negligence or otherwise while participating in such activity or while upon the premises.
The minor suffered the loss of vision in one eye while throwing woodchips during a free period.
Keeping waivers crystal clear can protect you from lawsuits.
Some waivers are upheld when challenged in a court of law, while others are not. Why do some waivers pass and some fail? All waivers must meet the standard of being clear and unambiguous, and the most frequent reason for failure is that the waiver was ambiguous and poorly written. The following four cases illustrate two well-written waivers and two poorly written waivers.
What is a waiver and how is it used? Do they work? Why do they fail? How do I write an effective waiver? Get the Answers! Liability waivers, contrary to misconceptions of providers in the past, can be effective in protecting providers from liability for injuries resulting from the negligence of the provider. Waivers are inexpensive to obtain, easy to administer and store, and can help protect providers from the consequences of their own mistakes.
Even experienced professionals in recreation, fitness, and sport often misunderstand or confuse some of the terms used. Below are some terms and their definitions that will help you better understand some of the documents that help to protect from liability.
By John Wolohan
From Athletic Business: An injured skier sees his negligence lawsuit slam right into a back-of-ticket waiver.
When trying to determine whether a waiver is valid, one of the first things the courts do is attempt to determine whether the service provider informed the injured individual about the waiver. Next, the court examines whether the individual (assuming his or her injury was caused by the negligence of the service provider) knowingly and willingly relinquished his or her right to sue the provider.
Protect your facility with unambiguous waivers, and make good decisions on the fitness floor to minimize risk.
Ning Yan fell while running on a treadmill, and died from his injuries. A representative of his estate sued, alleging that the fitness center was negligent in placing the treadmill too close to a wall. The estate contended that the treadmill belt threw Yan off the rear of the treadmill into a wall that was only 2 ½ feet from the treadmill.