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Flu Shots and Liability Waivers

DON’T SIGN LIABILITY WAIVERS, SERIOUSLY

Our family usually gets our flu shots at a quick clinic at a Target store.  This year when we were filling out the electronic forms, we noticed a section that required us to agree that we would waive liability against Target and the clinic for anything that could go wrong with the flu shot – for us and our children.  As personal injury lawyers, we know that waivers like this are interpreted broadly in Minnesota, so this waiver would include anything and everything, e.g. an infected needle, a defective needle that breaks with the injection, a bad batch of vaccine that causes injury, and anything else that could go wrong.  Of course, the odds of anything like that actually happening are low, but the Target clinics are going to give flu shots to millions of people, so something is going to go wrong with some of them.  The question is, why shouldn’t Target have to accept responsibility for its clinic when something goes wrong, even if it’s Target’s fault? Or to put it another way, why should the customer have to take responsibility for an infected needle, etc. that injures them even if it is entirely Target’s fault?

There was no way to avoid this electronic waiver form at Target, so we went to Walgreens instead.  At Walgreens, they also had a form with a liability waiver, but it was a written form.  The liability waiver was in very small print, but we saw it and crossed it out.  They then gave us the flu shot anyway without even a question.

If you go to a doctor’s office for the flu shot, they usually won’t have a liability waiver at all, but it is less convenient to go to the doctor’s office just for a flu shot.

We really don’t understand in the age of personal responsibility, why businesses think they should get liability waivers for an accident they cause that injures someone.  Of course they don’t want to be sued, but why are they unwilling to take responsibility for their own mistakes?

The only thing you, as a consumer, can do is read forms before you sign them and refuse to sign liability waivers. Our lawyers are always sad for people when they have signed a waiver and then get seriously injured in an accident, often with medical bills and lost wages, and we have to tell them they can’t get compensation from the business because they signed the waiver.  Don’t put yourself in that position.  Cross out waivers or do business with businesses that are willing to take responsibility for their actions.

Target is still going to inject millions of people with flu shots, and make tens of millions of dollars doing it, but they lost five from our family.