If you signed a liability waiver before participating in the sport, event or activity that injured you in Nebraska, you may wonder if you still have the right to file a lawsuit for your injuries and losses. The answer depends on the exact language of the liability waiver and the actions of the at-fault party. Discuss your accident in more detail with a personal injury lawyer in Omaha to find out if you have a case.
What Is a Liability Waiver?
Certain activities come with inherent injury risks, such as watching a live baseball game or going rock climbing. Even a day spent at the gym or a daycare center could lead to serious physical injuries. Liability waivers are binding legal documents that protect individuals and organizations from liability, or legal and financial responsibility, for injuries or deaths suffered during a risky activity. With a liability waiver in place, a defendant may avoid liability even if he or she was negligent.
Negligence is a legal term that refers to any type of careless or reckless acts or rule violations that cause harm or injury to others. Most personal injury lawsuits are based on the argument that one or more defendants were negligent and that this is what caused the injury in question. If there was a liability waiver in place, however, the injured victim may be barred from bringing a lawsuit against the defendant, even if there is proof of the defendant’s negligence or mistake.
What Does a Liability Waiver Protect Against?
A liability waiver effectively releases a party from all legal responsibility for injuries, illnesses, property damage or deaths associated with an event. This includes damages connected to an inherent risk of the activity as well as damages suffered from the defendant’s negligence. For a liability waiver to be enforceable in Nebraska, it must:
- Be in writing and signed by the plaintiff or plaintiff’s parent or legal guardian.
- Be clearly worded and unambiguous in its language.
- Be prominent rather than hiding in the fine print of a long or confusing contract.
If the contract is legally enforceable, it means the plaintiff knowingly agreed to assume the risks of the activity, and that the plaintiff therefore cannot file a lawsuit for any personal injuries suffered while on the premises or engaging in the activity in question. If it is not enforceable or there are loopholes, however, the victim may still have recovery options.
Do You Still Have Grounds for a Lawsuit?
Liability waivers are most common when participating in risky activities such as scuba diving, horseback riding and whitewater rafting. They are also commonly used at gyms, daycare centers, sports stadiums, cruise ships and spas. Other words for liability waivers are release of liability waivers, waivers of rights, waivers of liability, assumption agreements, indemnity agreements and pre-injury releases. Be careful before signing any type of liability waiver in Nebraska, as you may be signing away your right to hold someone responsible for serious injuries.
Even if you did sign a liability waiver or assume the risks of a dangerous activity, you may still have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. Liability waivers are not foolproof. Some waivers are not legally enforceable due to a mistake such as ambiguous phrasing or the failure to properly warn participants of foreseeable injury risks. It is important to bring your case to a personal injury lawyer in Omaha for an in-depth assessment.
A lawyer can carefully look over the liability waiver that you or a loved one signed to check its validity and legality. Then, the lawyer can investigate the accident to determine who or what caused your injury. Next, the lawyer can determine if you still have grounds to bring a lawsuit against the defendant for negligently or recklessly causing the injury despite signing a waiver. If so, your lawyer can help you fight for fair financial compensation for your medical bills, property repairs and other losses.