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Waivers — what you may not know.

DON’T SIGN WAIVERS

I was recently at a meeting with other attorneys and was surprised to find out many of them didn’t know that liability waivers are enforced in Minnesota. They are! Waivers are often on the front page of forms that you sign, and are usually in bold print. They can be used for activities, transportation, and the purchase of goods. When you sign a form that includes a liability waiver, you often are giving up any claim for compensation if you are injured. For example if you sign a waiver before getting on a bus, if you are injured because the bus gets in an accident, you will have waived your right to compensation for medical bills or anything else. The same with an activity waiver or any other waiver.

Most of the time if you cross out the waiver before you sign the form, the organization or business won’t even object. But if you sign the form without crossing out the waiver, you are often signing away important rights that you might not understand. For example, if you sign a waiver at a health club (which is in most health club contracts) you don’t just waive any claim for injury on the equipment or an activity you choose to participate in – you also waive your rights if you slip and fall because the health club left a slippery floor without warning, or if your child is injured by a negligent worker in the health club daycare.  Another example is if you sign a waiver for your child going on a church field trip, you may not realize you could also be waiving your rights against the hired bus company if the bus gets into an accident and you child is injured. Our lawyers have seen many situations where people have been surprised after an accident to find that they waived their rights.  Even lawyers sometimes sign these without thinking. The important thing is to read documents before you sign them. It’s very easy to cross out a sentence or two that contains a waiver.

If you or your child are injured in an accident in Minnesota, you should call us and speak with an experienced lawyer even if you have signed a waiver. There are some situations where we have gotten around waivers, and the law does change from time to time so a particular waiver could later be deemed unenforceable. We will be happy to look at your potential claim and provide you with a free consultation. We are Minnesota personal injury lawyers and our attorneys have more than 25 years’ experience successfully handling hundreds of cases.