A waiver of liability is an issue in personal injury law. A waiver of liability is a document that attempts to relieve a party of responsibility for another person's injury. In theory, a waiver of liability will bar the injured party from collecting damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc.
For example, an amusement park may require visitors to sign a waiver of liability that expresses that the park will not be responsible for any injuries. Personal injury law will deem certain activities to be so inherently dangerous that a waiver of liability is assumed. Sports, such as skydiving and bungee jumping are such activities. In this case, participants are considered to voluntarily waive their right to collect damages in the event of an injury. However, there are some exceptions to this practice.
Even in the event that a plaintiff has signed a waiver of liability, a defendant may still be liable for injuries caused to the plaintiff. This can be the case even in regards to inherently dangerous sports. However, for this to occur there must be specific circumstances present.
If the owner of the property where the plaintiff has been injured has engaged in some type of negligence, he or she may be liable. For example, if the owner has not properly maintained the property or the apparatus on which the defendant was injured this can negate the use of a waiver of liability. Personal injury law does not allow for a negligent owner to completely free from liability simply because of the use of a waiver of liability.
A typical waiver of liability that will be used to negate a personal injury law claim may state several terms and conditions that the signer must abide by. It may contain language that includes the possible risks of engaging in a particular behavior. By signing the waiver of liability, the signer is in essence saying that he or she understands the risks and assumes liability for any possible injury.
However, as previously stated, a waiver of liability will not always excuse a defendant under personal injury law. Waivers are commonly used by institutions, such as schools, who own a large amount of property. A university, for example, will have a difficult time ensuring that a student will not be injured when school officials have a very large student body to look over. This is why singing a waiver of liability is generally required by students. However, it is only under certain conditions that this waiver will be absolutely honored in personal injury law.