LIABILITY WAIVERS FOR COVID CORONA VIRUS
Some states have passed laws restricting lawsuits related to the spread of Corona Virus. Minnesota is not one of those states. However, individual businesses can still require a liability waiver before doing business. For example, we recently heard of a dentist office making their patients sign a Corona Virus liability waiver before getting treatment. There is some question of whether such a waiver would be enforceable in Minnesota. Still, it is interesting that the dentist would try to do this to his patients.
The dentist’s office claims it is “perfectly safe” to go there. They say they have done everything necessary to protect their patients from being exposed to the Corona Virus. But shouldn’t requiring a waiver make their patients doubt, or at least think twice, about going in?
Most likely, the dentist just thinks he needs to protect himself from “frivolous lawsuits.” Our personal injury lawyers are not aware of any legal cases in MN related to the spread of Corona Virus. We imagine it would be quite a challenge in most cases to prove exactly where and how a person was exposed to it. The point is that, in the unlikely event there was an outbreak tied to the dentist’s office, the dentist wants to make sure he doesn’t have to take responsibility for it.
WAIVERS ARE ENFORCEABLE
It is important to know that in Minnesota, liability waivers are enforceable in many (not all) situations. Sometimes they make sense. For example, if you are engaging in a risky and non essential activity such as skiing or even working out on exercise equipment at a gym. In those cases, the person chooses to engage in the potentially dangerous activity. However, a liability waiver should be unnecessary, particularly for businesses that provide essential services, like a dentist’s office.
Our advice is to always read the liability waiver carefully before signing, and cross out language that is too broad. And, you should really think about not signing the waiver at all and possibly taking your business somewhere else.