Are Waivers of Liability for Activities Enforceable?
Nowadays it is common practice to be required to sign a waiver of liability prior to participation in various recreational activities. You may not even realize you sign one. If you sign up to go to a gym, to play paintball, recreational sports, go rock climbing, play laser tag or go on a tour, it is highly likely that box you check electronically or that document you quickly sign will have a clause that tries to get you to waive your rights to make a claim for damages or to sue if you are injured.
This is done with the intent to limit the legal exposure of the recreational facility related to any possible injuries suffered as a result of participation in these activities. However, we often get clients who are injured while engaging in these activities, and one of the first questions we get asked is whether the waiver they signed is enforceable.
The good news is that we are able to advise our clients that in Louisiana, any waiver you sign in advance of an activity that purports to waive liability for physical injury is not enforceable. Specifically, Louisiana Civil Code article 2004 states that “any clause is null that, in advance, excludes or limits the liability of one party for causing physical injury to the other party.”
Therefore, if you sustain injuries through participation in recreational activities, you may still be able to bring a suit for your damages even if you signed a waiver. For example, if you are injured while climbing a rock wall as a result of improper instruction or supervision, the facility is still responsible for the negligence of its employees regardless of whether or not your signed a waiver.
While these waivers do not affect your right to recover damages, the agreement can still be used as evidence that you had notice of the inherent dangers of the activity. This may be relevant to determine whether you have any responsibility for your injuries and may impact the amount of damages awarded, but does not absolve the company of liability for your injuries.
If you have been injured while engaging in paint ball, laser tag, at a gym, through recreational activities or sporting events, dance classes, or any other activity and have signed a waiver of liability, it is important to consult with an experienced Metairie personal injury attorney or a New Orleans personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Call us for a free consultation on your claim.
Amanda Morse is an associate at Kiefer & Kiefer.
This is being provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.