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Can You File a Personal Injury Claim After Signing a Waiver at a Theme Park?

Posted on October 28, 2022 in

Many theme parks may require you to sign a liability waiver before even purchasing a ticket. Many people sign these waivers without much thought, so if they’re injured, they may not pursue an insurance claim. More often than not, waivers are meant to deter people from pursuing legal action, and it tends to work. However, in certain situations, despite signing a waiver, a person injured while at a theme park can still take legal action against the park.

The specialized injury attorneys at Jensen Phelan Law Firm have helped many of our clients successfully secure fair compensation against liable parties. Bringing a personal injury lawsuit against a big entity like a theme park can seem daunting. Fortunately, when you retain an attorney from Jensen Phelan Law Firm, you’re leveling the playing field and increasing your chances of recovering maximum compensation with our over 65 years of combined experience. 

Can You Sue For Injuries After Signing A Waiver?

Despite signing a waiver, you may still be able to hold a theme park liable for any damages. While the waiver may make the recovery process a bit more challenging, the enforceability of the waiver is determined by the court. 

In Arizona, the assumption of risk is always a question for the jury at trial. Ultimately, for a liability waiver to be effective, the participant must “intentionally relinquish a known right,” meaning there are three questions the court must answer to determine if the waiver is enforceable:

  • Was the language used in the waiver clear and unambiguous?
  • Was the injury caused by or due to the result of a reasonably related act that the waiver sought protection from?
  • Does the waiver or release violate public policy?

While the enforceability of a waiver is contingent on various factors, most waivers, even when they weigh in favor of enforceability, do not necessarily preclude recovery. 

What a Liability Waiver Does Not Cover

Waivers do not necessarily prevent liability for dangers that are unknown, especially if the danger is one that is known to the theme park but not warned about to the victim. The theory behind this is that you cannot knowingly waive the risk of injury as to unknown and/or unforseen circumstances unless it is readily apparent, as when it is visible, etc.

The courts have traditionally ruled that liability waivers do not hold up in court in the event that a person is harmed as a result of gross negligence on the part of another party involved. Should the court determine that the theme park was grossly negligent and, as a result, someone was injured, the liability waiver will likely not apply or protect the theme park.

Gross negligence is more than standard, ordinary negligence. It involves a party acting not just negligently, but with the utter disregard for the safety and well-being of others under their care. Intentional actions that cause harm to others are not covered under liability waivers.

When Will a Waiver Be Upheld in Court?

In Arizona, a liability waiver will generally be upheld so long as it meets certain criteria, including:

  • Clear language: The waiver must clearly state that you absolve the provider of all liability, including cases of ordinary negligence.
  • Format: The release of liability must be identifiable and not hidden within a larger document.
  • Precise list: The waiver must list specific risks or types of injuries that you are releasing the other party’s liability.
  • Signature: You need to have agreed to the waiver of liability with some form of signature. This may be an electronic signature or agreement.
  • Legality: The waiver of liability must not violate state or federal law in terms of wording or content.

Regardless of whether or not all of these criteria are met for a waiver of liability, the waiver still will not excuse gross negligence.

Retain a Skilled Specialized Personal Injury Attorney Today

Theme parks often carry large insurance coverage, which means their insurance adjusters work to make sure they avoid paying large settlement amounts as much as possible. They use liability waivers as a way to scare people off from trying to recover fair compensation for their injuries. Signing a liability waiver doesn’t always mean you lose your right to fair compensation.

At Jensen Phelan Law Firm, we offer a free assessment of your case and an explanation of your rights. You may be unsure of what your legal options are after being injured at a theme park, but we can help you find the path toward receiving maximum compensation. Our specialized personal injury attorneys know what it takes to build a strong claim for damages and will aggressively pursue maximum compensation on your behalf. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation by filling in our contact form or calling (928) 778-2660. We will evaluate your case for free, just give us a call.