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Liability Waivers May Not Hold Up in Court

Property owners in Georgia and other states often attempt to contract away negligence by using liability waivers. However, such waivers may or may not hold up in court--it all depends on the language contained in the waiver. For one thing, the scope of activities described in the waiver is critically important. Generally speaking, courts do not favor liability wavers and often rule against the party seeking to enforce them. However, when activities are specifically described in the waivers, courts will sometimes uphold them.

Typical businesses that require waivers before customers are allowed to participate in activities include bounce houses, water parks, trampoline parks and gyms. The waivers most likely to hold up in court are conspicuous rather than buried in a larger document where they are difficult to see. However, courts in many states have struck down waivers when activities are highly regulated and of public interest. Examples include motorcycle safety instructors and ski area operators.

In one case where a student who was studying abroad drowned while on a beach trip in a foreign country, the parents sued the student's university, claiming that the beach trip was outside the scope of studies. However, the courts disagreed, citing specific language in a waiver that covered losses, damages, injuries and even death while traveling to and participating in that particular activity.

When a person is injured on someone else's property, the property owner may be held responsible, especially if it can be shown that the property owner was negligent. When that is the case, an injured party might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit and collect damages that include such things as medical expenses and lost wages. However, proving negligence might require the services of a law firm with experience in premises liability and preventable accidents.

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