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Waivers of Liability: Three Exemptions From Validity in New York

Waivers of liability were designed to inform participants of hazards involved with certain activities and protect the individual or company from lawsuits in the event of injury. However, they’re sometimes abused by companies who use the waivers to dodge all responsibility, even in the case of negligence. And, in some instances, waivers of liability are not enforceable in New York. While there are many reasons a party can be found responsible despite the use of a waiver, there are three circumstances that typically nullify waivers of liability.

You Paid for the Service or Activity

A person signing papers while sitting at a desk

It’s not uncommon to be asked to sign waivers of liability at gyms, skating rinks, pools, and other amusement facilities. However, if you paid for entry into these venues, the owners or operators are not exempt from negligence claims under New York law. In these cases, the waivers exist simply to make attendees or participants believe that their legal rights are limited.

There Is a Minor Involved

In most cases, minors cannot sign legally binding contracts in the State of New York. Even if a parent or guardian signs a waiver of liability on their behalf, there are many instances in which the waiver is not enforceable. If an injury has been sustained by a minor as a result of negligence, they are entitled to pursue a lawsuit. In addition to negligence on school grounds, this includes injuries that take place on or during:

  • Participation in sports
  • Youth clubs and events
  • Field trips

The Wording in the Waiver Is Not Clear

Even in circumstances in which waivers of liability would be enforceable, wording that is illegal, unclear, or contradictory may deem waivers null and void. The waiver must be clear and concise in stating legal protections and exemptions in order to be considered valid under New York law. If it is not, the affected individual may have a case.

At Leav & Steinberg LLP, our skilled legal team is experienced in helping personal injury victims achieve compensation. Contact us today at 212-766-5222 to schedule a free consultation at our Manhattan or Bronx office.