BALTIMORE, Aug. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- If you've ever read the contract associated with your amusement park ride, movie ticket or parking pass, you know you've agreed to waive your right to sue for negligent actions. However, it seems the leisure and entertainment industries are getting a bit more clever by adding additional waivers through small signs and "click here's" on their websites. Are they enforceable? Alex Brown, an insurance lawyer and commercial litigator with Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White, explains.
Mr. Brown, a partner with the firm, has extensive experience representing clients in both the private and public sector. Mr. Brown has represented insurance policyholders, insurers, Risk Retention Groups and insurance professionals in complex insurance litigation and transactional insurance matters.
Last summer a number of deadly accidents at amusement parks brought the liability waiver issue into focus. In some cases the rides malfunctioned. In other cases riders fell or were thrown from rides that seemed to be operating properly.
In April 2010, Florida passed a law restoring the right of businesses to ask for a "waiver of liability" before letting customers on various types of amusement or theme park rides. The law's primary effect is on children and minors: Parents must sign a waiver agreeing not to sue the business or park if the child is hurt while on a ride.
What does that mean? If your child is hurt because of some risk that's part of the activity, the waiver will stop you from filing suit. If they're hurt because the park or an employee didn't do something it was supposed do, you may still be able to sue.
Liability waivers are used all over the US and for all sorts of recreational activities, such as white water rafting, canoeing, and bungee-jumping. However, a business or park can ask for a waiver for just about any type of ride or activity. Whether a waiver is "good" or valid depends on the laws of the state. In many states, waivers are legal and apply to negligence and inherent risks. In other states, waivers apply to only one or the other, or may not be good at all.
The bottom line is this is a legal gray area, and anyone injured in an amusement park, ski resort or anywhere should speak with an attorney and not automatically think the courthouse door is closed due to a waiver.
For more information or any insurance related questions, please contact Alex at [email protected].
About Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White
Mr. Brown is part of the STSW team, an AV rated law firm by Martindale-Hubbell. STSW, a full-service law firm, is widely regarded as one of the premier litigation firms in the mid-Atlantic region. They have achieved extraordinary success for their clients across Maryland and throughout the United States. For more information about the depth and breadth of their services, please visit www.mdattorney.com.
SOURCE Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White