If you were injured in a premises liability accident while working out at a gym or participating in another recreational activity, you may worry that you do not have a right to file a claim because you signed a liability waiver. However, this may not be true in Virginia. The liability form you signed may not be enforceable in our state.
What Is a Liability Waiver?
Many businesses and organizations require a person to sign a liability waiver when registering for a sports team, fitness program, recreational activity, outdoor activity, or another group event. These waivers are referred to by many other names, such as a waiver, release, indemnification agreement, and hold harmless agreement. By signing the form, the participant agrees not to sue the organization if they were injured while participating in the event, even if the negligence of the business or organization caused the accident.
Are Liability Waivers Enforceable in Virginia?
Unlike in many other states, liability waivers are generally unenforceable in Virginia. The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that pre-injury liability waivers violate our state’s public policy and should not be enforced. This means that you could still have a right to file a claim for compensation for your injuries if you signed one of these forms and were later injured due to the negligence of the business or organization sponsoring the activity or event.
Are There Exceptions When a Liability Waiver Would Be Enforceable?
As with many laws, there are exceptions when a liability waiver would be considered enforceable. They include:
- Participant’s own negligence. Liability waivers can be enforced if a victim’s negligence was the cause of their injuries. If they file a lawsuit, they could have to pay the other party’s legal costs and expenses.
- Assumption of risk. If a victim is found to have assumed the risk of being hurt, a liability waiver could be valid. The negligent party would need to show that the victim fully appreciated the nature and extent of the risk and voluntarily incurred the risk.
- Dangerous activity. A liability waiver would also be enforced if the victim participated in an inherently dangerous activity, such as race car driving.
Were you or a family member injured in a premises liability accident in Virginia Beach or Norfolk? Did you sign a liability waiver? Our experienced premises liability lawyers are here to answer your questions and fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or fill out our convenient online form to schedule your free initial consultation today to learn more about your rights and how we can help you.