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2024 Personal Injury

What to Know if You Signed a Liability Waiver

One of the most common types of contracts the average person will sign is a liability waiver. These contracts can look intimidating, but they do not necessarily prevent the party who signed from pursuing a lawsuit. While the presence of a liability waiver can complicate a personal injury case, a Tifton personal injury lawyer may be able to help you overcome it.   

Why (and Where) Liability Waivers Are Used

Liability waivers typically arise in the service provider/customer context. They require the customer to agree to release the service provider from liability for injuries arising from the service provider’s negligence. In most cases, the customer is required to sign a liability waiver as a condition of participation in the service or activity at issue. They are used most often for places and activities where there is an increased risk of injury, such as gyms, amusement parks, bicycle or motorcycle rentals, and outdoor recreational activities. 

Liability Waivers Are Generally Enforceable in Georgia 

Georgia courts generally enforce liability waivers according to their terms. This is based on the state’s public policy of allowing private parties the broadest possible freedom to contract. Even so, Georgia courts require at least the following three elements to be present in a liability waiver for it to be enforceable: 

  1. A covenant not to sue
  2. A disclaimer of liability
  3. An assumption of the risk clause

While the purpose of liability waivers is to release a party from liability for negligence, the word “negligence” does not need to appear in the waiver to be enforceable in Georgia. 

Exceptions to the Enforceability of Liability Waivers in Georgia 

No contract is bulletproof, and liability waivers are no exception. In Georgia, a liability waiver may be found to be unenforceable in one or more of the following three scenarios:  

Ambiguity in Language  

The language of a liability waiver must be “clear and unambiguous.” It must inform the signing party in plain English that they are forfeiting their right to pursue a legal claim against the other party for injuries sustained due to the other party’s negligence. If there is any ambiguity in the language, courts resolve it against the drafter of the waiver. 

Void as Against Public Policy 

In some cases, courts refuse to enforce liability waivers if they are found to violate public policy. This could occur where: 

  • The Georgia General Assembly declares the contract to be in violation of public policy
  • The purpose of the contract is to effect an illegal or immoral agreement
  • The contract is in contravention of the law 

An example of a liability waiver that could be void as against public policy would be one that purported to release a party from liability for criminal actions. 

The Waiver Purports to Waive Liability for Gross Negligence or Intentional Conduct 

Finally, liability waivers only release a party from simple negligence, not gross negligence or intentional conduct. Gross negligence is a more severe form of negligence that requires the perpetrator to act with extreme carelessness or reckless disregard for the safety of others. 

Contact a Tifton Personal Injury Lawyer if You Signed a Liability 

If you suffered an injury after signing a liability waiver, you may still be able to pursue a claim. To get started, please contact a Tifton personal injury lawyer at the Hudson Injury Firm by calling 229-396-5848 or using our online form