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Personal InjuryMay 29, 2019

When Waivers Can “Waver”

As we go through life, there are various forms of contracts that we may have to deal with. From lease agreements to non-disclosure agreements or even employment contracts, you must sign a contract of some sort before you do just about anything this day and age.

Today, you may be expected to sign your name to a contract before taking part in an event or recreational activity. These contracts are called liability waivers and are designed to remove the legal liability from the business or person responsible for the activity or event. This could mean that if you or a loved one is injured, you already forfeited the legal recourse that you may have had prior to signing this waiver. However, liability waivers are not always airtight, and the State of New York has laws in place that provide protections for the legal rights of victims hurt by the negligence of others, even if they signed waivers.

If a business or person’s negligence is responsible for your injury and you signed a liability waiver, here are some ways that you may still have a legal case to pursue.


According to New York law, contracts made with a minor can be considered void. A minor cannot be bound by a contractual agreement, so if the waiver is signed by the minor, it has no contractual effect. In some states, a parent can sign for a minor and make the contract valid, but under New York state law, this is not allowed.

Liability waivers are generally not binding if a minor suffers injuries, especially if those injuries have been caused by negligence. If a minor has been injured after signing a liability waiver, chances are very good that he or she still has a right to compensation for the injuries suffered.


Under New York General Obligations Law § 5-326 , a liability wavier cannot be enforced if the person signing the contract did so in conjunction with some sort of payment to take part in recreational activities at gymnasiums, swimming pools, theme parks, and other areas. If taking part in an activity involves a payment – like paying for a ticket, membership, or another fee at the venue – then a liability waiver may not be enforceable.

It is a matter of public policy in New York that no owner, staff member, operator, or agent can be exempt from legal action alleging negligence if the victim paid to engage in the activity.


Liability waivers are designed to protect organizations from the legal ramifications that come into play when a person is hurt by ordinary negligence. However, it does not exempt them from injuries that are a result of gross negligence or recklessness. This occurs when the company’s carelessness and disregard for the safety or lives of others results in harm.

If you or a loved one is injured due to the conduct of the organization that had you sign a waiver, and that organization showed a complete disregard for you or your loved one’s safety, you have a right to take legal action regardless of a liability waiver.


Have you signed a liability waiver and been injured? Not sure where to go from here? Call the New York personal injury attorneys at PPID and set up a FREE consultation with The Case Handler team. Let our first-class legal team help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 929-223-4195.

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