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Can I Sue After Signing a Waiver in Boston?

Published in Personal Injury on August 25, 2020

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Many risky activities require participants to sign waivers of liability. Release of liability waivers protect the overarching organization from legal responsibility if a participant suffers an injury. If a foul ball hits a sports fan in the head during a baseball game, for example, the fan may not be able to sue the sports stadium based on an implicit waiver of liability in the ticket. Waivers of liability are not airtight, however. The circumstances of the case in Boston will determine whether the victim has the power to file a lawsuit.

When Is a Liability Waiver Rendered Useless in Boston?

You may have the authority to bring a lawsuit against someone in Boston even after you signed a liability waiver if a judge believes the circumstances warrant holding the defendant responsible for the accident. In most states, a judge will rule on assumption of risk waivers on a case-by-case basis according to the specific details. Your case may involve certain factors that increase the chances of a judge ruling the liability waiver invalid or ineffectual.

  • Failure to warn of known risks. A release of liability waiver will only work if the organization or individual adequately warned participants of all known and potential risks of the activity. If the participant did not know what he or she was getting into, the organization could be liable for an accident and injury.
  • Breach of a duty of care. Although waivers protect entities from some negligence-related liabilities, others will allow the victim to hold someone responsible. A breach of duty that a reasonable and prudent party would not have made, causing serious harm to a participant, could make the entity liable regardless of a liability waiver.
  • Malicious intent to harm. Release of liability waivers generally do not have the power to protect a defendant who is reckless, malicious, or intentional in his or her wrongdoing. If this were the case, a defendant could do anything he or she wanted to a participant without facing any consequences.

A piece of paper may or may not protect someone from liability for your accident and personal injury in Boston. Do not assume you cannot hold a defendant liable for your damages because you signed a waiver. In many cases, the courts decide to throw out liability waivers based on the defendant’s actions, negligence or maliciousness. With an attorney’s assistance, you may be able to hold someone accountable for your damages even after signing a waiver.

What Makes a Waiver Invalid in Boston?

In some cases, it is not the defendant’s mistakes that render a risk waiver invalid, but the language of the waiver itself. A valid, legal waiver that the courts will uphold must contain certain traits. If a defendant did not create a waiver legally or with all required elements, it may not hold up in court in Boston. A personal injury lawyer can review the waiver you signed in more detail to let you know whether or not it is valid.

  • Put in writing
  • Large, clear print that is easy to read
  • Clear and concise language
  • Description of activity
  • List of known risks
  • Defined duration of the agreement 
  • Separate indemnification section
  • Signature from participant

The participant signing the waiver must not be a minor under the age of 18. In most cases, a parent cannot sign away a child’s right to sue by signing a liability waiver on his or her behalf. The family may still have grounds to bring a lawsuit for an injury that befalls a child during an activity. If the person who signed the waiver was under duress, coerced, threatened, blackmailed or mentally incapacitated at the time, this will also render the waiver invalid. Speak to a personal injury lawyer in Boston for more information about your specific liability waiver case.

For more information, call our law office at (617)-391-9001. Or if you would prefer to email us, then please visit our contact page.

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