Winter sports season is around the corner. Usually, participants must sign a liability waiver to enjoy a ski hill or skate on a public rink. It’s common for people to sign a liability waiver without giving it a second thought. However, you may be giving up your rights a little too fast, without fully understanding the consequences.
A liability waiver is a contract stipulating that the signer gives up his rights to sue an individual or an organization for injuries he may sustain while participating in an activity. The waiver may extend even to injuries resulting from the negligence of the individual or organization hosting the activity.
“I signed a liability waiver, does that mean I absolutely cannot have a claim?”
No, liability waivers are not always enforceable. However, they are largely accepted by Courts in Ontario. It’s best to understand their meaning before signing them.
Generally, there are three situations in which a liability waiver may not be enforceable:
- If the liability waiver was not presented as a waiver, but as something more innocuous (e.g. a registration form) to the person signing it. However, not reading the waiver or not asking questions to clarify the purposes of the document would not fall within this situation.
- If the signer was induced by fraud or misrepresentation to sign the liability waiver.
- If the individual or organization providing the waiver did not take all reasonable steps to bring the terms of the waiver to the signer’s attention.
A liability waiver must refer to the risks and injuries encompassed by the activity for which the person is giving up the right to sue upon signing the waiver. For instance, that means if you sign a waiver regarding injuries that may be sustained while skiing, the waiver will not be applicable for injuries you sustain if, heaven forbid, you get struck by a motor vehicle while in the parking lot of the ski hill. A liability waiver applies only to the risks and injuries that have been agreed upon.
It’s worth noting that it is irrelevant whether someone signs a waiver of liability manually or electronically. Both formats are enforceable.
Liability waivers can bar a person from bringing a personal injury lawsuit. You should fully understand what is being given up before signing a waiver.
At Siskinds, we champion good people who have been injured in almost any way. Our experience in all areas of personal injury law is diverse and deep. If you’ve been seriously injured, contact one of our experienced personal injury lawyers today.