Can You Sue After Signing a Waiver in California?

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Businesses use release of liability waivers to safeguard themselves against potential lawsuits and to stop them from compensating accident victims. Businesses do this so they can protect their investments, profitability, and organizational reputation through these agreements.

Most people who have been involved in accidents assume that release of liability waivers prevent them from seeking compensation from business establishments and other entities. That is not always the case.

Various considerations would have to be made in a court of law, such as the state’s overarching laws, the assumption of risk, and negligence. The aim would be to establish the contract’s legality and examine the defendant’s character.

Nevertheless, the question remains: In California, can you sue after signing a waiver? The simple answer is yes. In this guide, we delve deeper into the nature of liability waivers and explain how a personal injury lawyer can help you gain recovery even after signing such a document. You can contact AttorneyJeff for personalized legal advice about your injury’s circumstances.

What Are Liability Waivers and Why Do People Sign Them?

Release of liability waivers eliminate the risk of tort law, meaning that signatories willingly surrender the right to sue an entity or an individual in case of injury or death from a specific activity. When you sign a waiver, you cannot sue the defendant if an accident occurs while accessing their services.

Therefore, a release of liability waiver, or a waiver of right to sue, removes legal responsibility and can be compared to documents such as disclaimers, covenants not to sue, indemnification agreements, and informed consent agreements. Each of these documents serves a specific purpose based on the nature of the event.

So, suppose you’re involved in a car accident, and the guilty party asks you not to sue. In this case, the settlement will have to be done outside the legal system if you sign a covenant not to sue. This settlement agreement becomes legally binding, and you cannot sue the guilty party any time after.

You might also wonder why a business or other entity would ask you to sign a waiver form before participating in a particular activity. As can be expected, California release of liability waivers shield these parties from assuming the risk of injury.

For instance, a business owner could ask that you sign such an agreement as part of a gym contract, before engaging in rock climbing activities, or when sports car racing. The aim is to ensure that you assume liability after you sustain injury from an unexpected accident.

Does Signing a Waiver Eliminate the Right to Sue?

Sometimes, it is easy to assume that a waiver eliminates liability from the at-fault party. That is not always the case.

Once you sign a waiver, you still maintain the right to sue, since certain limitations exist.

As discussed below, there are specific scenarios where a judge would fail to uphold a release of liability waiver.

  • Malicious activity: If the defendant acted maliciously, the release of liability waiver cannot stand. For example, when there is evidence of fraud, recklessness, or intent to harm, you maintain the right to sue.
  • Inadequacies within the waiver form: Sometimes, the defendant might fail to disclose all pertinent information to the case. All risks should be disclosed before you can provide informed consent, meaning that any missing information or ambiguous language potentially invalidates the waiver.
  • Errors within the waiver form: The defendant must also use language that aligns with California state laws. Any evidence of improper wording or legal violations in the language can invalidate the waiver.

Therefore, signing a waiver does not entirely remove your right to sue for injuries sustained.

However, because California liability laws are sometimes complex, it is advisable that you talk to a personal injury attorney for assistance. Speaking to a lawyer would make you more aware of your rights and hold the defendant accountable for their actions.

Liability Waivers and Assumptions of Risk

Although a liability waiver cannot bar you from filing a lawsuit and receiving compensation, it might complicate the process. You must prove that the defendant was negligent and that the release of liability waiver should not stand.

Another complexity occurs when the defendant proceeds with an assumption of risk defense against you. An assumption of risk defense explains that you understood all the pertinent risks before engaging in a dangerous activity. Hence, you knew that being injured was a possibility.

In California, assumption of risk defenses can limit the amount of compensation you receive for your injuries. The state relies on comparative negligence laws. These legal guidelines assert that a person’s partial involvement in an activity that leads to an accident and subsequent injury can minimize their ability to gain maximum recovery.

Request to Talk to a California Personal Injury Attorney Today

Release of liability waivers cannot bar accident victims from suing defendants. Although signing such a document means that you willingly surrender the right to sue an entity or an individual, there are several considerations that a court of law makes to establish contract legality. The court also works towards establishing whether there was negligence on the defendant’s part.

If you are still unsure whether you can sue after signing a release of liability, it would be best to work with a California personal injury lawyer. AttorneyJeff has a team of experienced personal injury lawyers that can assist you with your case. We can ensure that you receive the necessary legal representation when faced with a personal injury case.

Contact us online or call us at 909-235-5801.

Liability Waiver FAQs

Whom does a release of liability waiver protect?

The document protects the defendant. Businesses use release of liability waivers to safeguard themselves from potential lawsuits and to shield them from compensating accident victims.

Should a release of liability waiver form be specifically worded?

Yes, it should. The defendant must use language that aligns with California state laws, meaning that improper wording or legal violations in the language can invalidate the waiver.

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