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Waivers of liability mostly unenforceable in New York

If you've been injured in an accident or on the job, the attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP have the knowledge, skills, and experience required to hold the party responsible for your injury accountable.

Last Updated: 07-28-2023
Written by: Michael A. Rose and Gregory Hach

The goal of waivers of liability is to make it impossible for accident injury victims to file a lawsuit if they incur an injury resulting from someone else’s negligent actions. By signing a waiver of liability, you can lose some of your legal rights by signing your name to the conditions included in the fine print.

What is a Waiver of Liability?

A waiver of liability in New York is a legal document that individuals or organizations use to limit their potential liability for certain risks or activities. By signing a waiver of liability, a person agrees to release the other party from any claims or damages that may arise from participating in a specific activity or using a particular service.

In New York, as in many other states, waivers of liability are commonly used in various contexts, such as:

  1. Sports and Recreational Activities: Participants in sports events, fitness classes, adventure sports, and other recreational activities may be required to sign a waiver of liability to acknowledge the inherent risks involved and release the organizers or facility owners from liability in case of injury or harm.
  2. Events and Activities: When attending events, such as concerts, festivals, or workshops, attendees may be asked to sign a waiver of liability as a condition of participation.
  3. Gym Memberships: Fitness centers and gyms often have members sign waivers to protect themselves from liability in case of injuries that may occur during exercise.
  4. Rental Agreements: Companies that rent out equipment, vehicles, or properties may use waivers of liability to limit their responsibility for accidents or damages.

It is essential to understand that a waiver of liability does not protect against all forms of negligence or gross misconduct. In New York and other jurisdictions, there are limits to what can be waived, and certain rights cannot be waived by signing such a document. For instance, if someone’s injuries were caused by gross negligence or intentional harm, a waiver of liability may not fully protect the party seeking protection from legal consequences.

When is a Waiver of Liability Unenforceable?

However, under New York General Obligations Law 5-326, liability waivers are not enforceable if the person who signed the clause did so in conjunction with some payment. These payments can include paying for a ticket, membership, or other fees, such as participating in recreational activities at gymnasiums, amusement parks, swimming pools, or similar places. Also, liability waivers for minors are unenforceable in New York.

Call Our Personal Injury Lawyers

Our attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP provide legal services in New York and handle personal injury cases such as car accidents, slip and fall accidents, and wrongful death, among others. Call our offices today at (212) 779-0057 to discuss your situation.

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