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Businesses seek to escape liability with mandatory waivers

People in Georgia may wonder about the legal impact of the waivers they are asked to sign before participating in activities at gyms, bounce houses, water parks and other public entertainment venues. They may not be certain about their rights if they are seriously injured while engaging in activities at these locations. In some cases, these releases may be effective in disclaiming liability; in other cases, the businesses in question may remain responsible for the damages done.

The language of the waiver may be particularly important in determining whether the business has effectively contracted away its obligations under premises liability. In most cases, these kinds of waivers and releases are not favored by courts, and they are generally understood as strictly as possible against the business that is seeking to enforce them to avoid liability. However, in some cases, courts have upheld liability waivers and denied payouts to people seeking compensation after an incident.

For example, parents who attempted to sue a university after their son died in a beach drowning accident on a study abroad program were unsuccessful after the court ruled that the beach trip was covered by a waiver. Of course, a court's acceptance of a waiver may also relate to the nature of the activity itself. In many states, "highly regulated" activities may not be subject to liability waivers as a matter of public interest. For example, in some states, motorcycle safety instructors or ski facility operators cannot use waivers to disclaim liability.

People who have been injured while out for a day of fun may be troubled by the effect of a mandatory waiver. A personal injury lawyer may help people understand the impact of a waiver in their own case, and the lawyer may work with injured people to seek compensation for their medical bills, lost wages and other damages.

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