Simply, a waiver is a contract. It is a legally binding agreement between you and a business or organization offering a service. By signing the waiver, you agree not to hold the business liable (legally responsible). It may also be called a release, waiver of negligence, or an exculpatory agreement or contract.
You may be able to obtain a settlement even though you signed a waiver.
It is important to know that laws regarding waivers may vary widely from state to state. Ohio does recognize the validity of applicable waivers, but there are exceptions. A waiver is subject to contract laws and courts will take several factors in to account when determining if the release can be enforced. That being said, generally:
- A waiver must be written in “clear and unambiguous language”
- Who is covered by the waiver?
- What types of injuries does it include?
- It may not violate public policy
- The release cannot waive liability for willful and wanton (intentional) actions
- Capacity – the parties must have the legal right to enter into an agreement
- While Ohio allows for a parent to enter into a contract for a minor child, many states do not. (See Zivich v. Mentor Soccer Club, Inc.)
- Consideration – A waiver/release is not a valid contract unless all parties receive consideration (“something of value”). The consideration received by the business or organization is the promise not to sue and the consideration received by the individual is the right to participate.
This is only a partial list and is not meant to be construed as legal advice. If you have been hurt after signing a waiver, you still may qualify to recover for your injuries. Contact one of our experienced attorneys to discuss your claim. Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO or fill out our free, no-obligation online consultation form.