Does a Release of Liability Bar You from Seeking Compensation?
Releases and waivers of liability are an agreement between a prospective customer and company. The words in these arrangements express the consent that the injured party would not be allowed to seek compensation upon injury if he or she signs the contract. These clauses are becoming more prevalent in fitness centers, recreational facilities, and during activities. However, does signing a release of liability truly prevent you from seeking compensation in the event of an injury?
Arizona Law Does Not Allow Avoiding Responsibility
While companies use these clauses and waivers of liability to reduce their responsibility, the fact of the matter is the courts do not agree with them. Courts review these releases of responsibility with a cynical eye, and in a personal injury case, an attorney can challenge the validity of the document.
Meaningfully Educating the Participant on the Release
Recent developments in Arizona, as well as the rest of the country, indicate that courts require defendants to inform customers before demanding that they sign the disclaimer. If a client were to sign a release of liability, but not be wholly educated on the document, the court is likely to invalidate the agreement. Educating the participant entails more than handing them the document and expecting them to read. Instead, defendants must tell the participant what they are signing. Under current Arizona laws, the court does not hold a release valid. Therefore, a good personal injury attorney will aggressively challenge the validity of that document.
Arizona’s Release of Liability Requirements
While Arizona has a policy for the freedom of creating contracts, public safety and policy are invariably considered first. Therefore, Arizona only recognizes releases for particular situations. If the terms of the agreement apply to the type of conduct by the defendant, then it might be valid. Furthermore, the assumption of risk or liability cannot be overly broad or generalized. Also, the release cannot be forced or coerced. A person who willingly signs the release and then is injured may not be eligible for compensation. If, however, the person is forced to sign the liability by the defendant, then the defendant cannot escape liability. Also, if the waiver of responsibility ignores public safety or policy — such as breaking the law — then the waiver is invalid. Contract law is extraordinarily complicated, notably when joined with the issue of personal injury.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Release of Liability, or any other personal injury, please feel free to contact Brian T. Allen at 480.461.5335, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.