Activities that occur on a commercial premise will usually require the signing of a waiver. Public pools, theme parks, or tourist activities will nearly always provide a short waiver that they require to be signed to enter or partake in the activity. Likewise, certain medical procedures can require the patients to sign a waiver before the procedure. Due to this, people often assume the belief that because they signed a waiver, they are not able to claim damages should they suffer a personal injury as they have signed away their legal rights as part of a waiver. This blog will explain how that is not necessarily the case. 

Why do waivers exist?

A waiver is a contract between a premise and the individual seeking to enter or be involved in the activities taking place. The waiver exists to act as proof that the business has alerted you to potential dangers and warned you of the risk you may be taking. For example, the waiver may explain that there are risks involved and you participate at your own risk. 

The use of a waiver is not enough to protect an entity from liability. The waiver should be properly explained to the person in clear and understandable language, and the entity should check to ensure this is the case and the waiver is fully understood. 

Does a Waiver mean I can’t claim?

The existence of a signed waiver does not necessarily mean an individual who suffers injury is unable to make a claim. Put simply, a waiver does not indemnify a commercial business, hospital, or any other entity of their obligation of a duty of care to their patrons.  

In personal injury claims, fault is a crucial element. Meaning the injury has occurred due to the negligence of some other person or business. Therefore, should an injury occur due to the negligent actions of another party, a waiver will not stop an injured person from being able to seek compensation for their losses.

What can I claim?

If you have suffered some form of injury, a personal injury lawyer will be able to advise you of your rights. A lawyer may advise that you have grounds to make a public liability claim, in which case, you may be entitled to claim for past economic loss, medical expenses, future economic loss, and future treatment. 

Will it affect the business or entity if I make a claim?

Most commercial businesses and medical practices hold insurance for circumstances like this. Once a claim is lodged, the relevant insurer deals with the matter on behalf of the entity. The only way a business can be individually impacted is if it fails to hold public liability insurance. 

What now?

Therefore, signing a waiver before suffering an injury does not necessarily prevent an injured person from pursuing compensation. Contact a personal injury lawyer who will be able to advise you on the specific waiver that was signed and the circumstances of the accident to determine if you may have grounds to pursue a public liability claim. 

In the meantime, seek medical treatment and document the incident with the relevant entity via an incident report. Keep any photos or documents relating to the event, as these may assist your lawyers in determining if you have a viable claim.