Which States “Require” the Use of the Term “Negligence” in Waivers

By Doyice Cotten

Sportwaiver has, on a number of occasions, emphasized the importance, or even the necessity, of specifying within the waiver that the signer is releasing the provider from liability for injuries resulting from the negligence of the provider. In this post, we are re-emphasizing this need. The reader can check below to see what the courts in the reader’s state seem to require currently.

Statutes and the case law in the following states (or jurisdictions) have not yielded enough information for us to determine if courts require the use of the term “negligence” to be used.

Waiver and Indemnity Agreement Upheld for Ordinary Negligence in Massachusetts Triathlon Case

By Doyice Cotten

Richard Angelo died during the swimming portion of a triathlon organized by USA Triathlon (USAT). In spite of Richard having signed a waiver and indemnity agreement, his wife Cheryl filed suit alleging negligence, gross negligence, pain and suffering, and infliction of emotional distress (Angelo v. USA Triathlon, 2014). The waiver read:

  1. I hereby Release, Waive and Covenant Not to Sue, and further agree to Indemnify, Defend and Hold Harmless the following parties: USAT,

Kentucky Motocross Race Waiver Upheld for Negligence and Willful and Wanton Negligence

By Doyice Cotten

In 2011, Walter Brotherton worked on a voluntary basis as a mechanic for one of the racers in the Kentucky Indoor Motocross Championship.

Brotherton was injured during a practice heat while standing near the starting gate.  He and others  decided to move and watch the practice from another location inside the Arena, but at that moment a motorcyclist topped a hill and careened into the starting area injuring Brotherton.

He subsequently sued,

Waivers Upheld for Negligence in 3 of 4 Trail Ride Cases in 2013

By Doyice Cotten

Trail rides have been a risky proposition for women in 2013. As can be seen below, a well-written liability waiver for trail rides will provide protection for equine providers from liability for ordinary negligence in most states.

Utah

In Penunuri v. Sundance Partners, LTD (2013), the rider signed a pre-injury waiver prior to a guided trail ride. Lisa Penunuri was injured by falling from her horse when the horse unexpectedly accelerated to close the gap to the next rider.

Waivers NOT Containing the Word “Negligence” Fail in 3 Recent New York State Cases

By Doyice Cotten

Some waivers protect; others fail to protect. There are many reasons waivers fall short of providing the protection intended by the provider.  Some reasons include gross negligence involved, violation of statutory duty, unequal bargaining power, unconscionable contract, no opportunity to bargain, employer/employee relationships and many more. Most common, however, is that the language used in the waiver was ambiguous.  Courts in most states specify that to be enforced, the waivers must clearly and unambiguously describe the intent of the two parties.

Understanding Negligence and Liability: “Causes of Injury” (Part 3)

By Doyice Cotten

In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, we addressed the issue of negligence. This post presents explains that there are 3 causes of injury and the possible liability associated with each.

Injury and risk may be placed into three categories. These categories are 1) inherent risks, 2) risks arising from negligent behavior of the provider, and 3) risks arising from extreme or aggravated provider behavior that goes beyond ordinary negligence.

What Does Your Waiver Protect Against? Inherent Risks – Ordinary Negligence – Acts Greater than Ordinary Negligence

By Doyice Cotten

There are literally hundreds of waiver cases in which the waiver protected the provider from liability for ordinary negligence by the provider. In the Salinger case below, the waiver specifically stated that Grace Farms was released from liability for negligence (meaning ordinary negligence) and would have protected the provider from such liability. However, the plaintiff alleged “greater than ordinary negligence,” which in Minnesota meant willful and wanton conduct. In most states, waivers do not protect against gross negligence,

Negligence per se and Waivers – They Don’t Always Mix

By Doyice Cotten

While we know that liability waivers are vital tools in the risk management process, we sometimes forget that waivers do not work for all situations. For instance, we know that a waiver will not be enforced if it conflicts with statutory law. We also know that in most states waivers will not protect a provider from liability for gross negligence. And we know that in many states, waivers signed by parents on behalf of minor children will not protect.

State AED Statutes: Do You Know Your State’s Requirements? Part 1

JoAnn M. Eickhoff-Shemek, Ph.D., FACSM

President, Fitness Law Academy, LLC

Professor Emeritus, Exercise Science, University of South Florida

This following article was first published in the Fitness Law Academy’s newsletter in January 2021. It has been divided into two parts for our readers. It was written by Dr. JoAnn Eickhoff-Shemek, President of the Fitness Law Academy, LLC  and Editor of its quarterly newsletter.  Individuals can subscribe to this “free” newsletter by going to www.fitnesslawacademy.com.

Is an Arbitration clause in an unenforceable waiver enforceable in NJ?

By Doyice Cotten

In Hojnowski v. Vans Skate Park (2006), The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that parental waivers of liability (those signed by parents on behalf of their minor child) are not enforceable in New Jersey. In that same decision, it also ruled that parental arbitration agreements (those signed by parents on behalf of their minor child) are enforceable. The rationale in these decisions has been that a liability waiver, if enforced, takes away the rights of the minor for compensation for loss;