Waivers are a common feature in our modern world. You sign them for doctors, for schools, for gyms, for ski resorts and for all sorts of other situations. While waivers do provide a measure of protection for companies, they are not a license for the companies to behave as they please with no consequences.
A waiver is to warn you of possible harm. When you sign a waiver, you agree to go forward despite the risks. Signing a waiver does not mean that you will not pursue a claim if negligence leads to personal injury. No one ever has the right to be negligent.
Furthermore, there might be problems with the legal construction of the waiver itself. If a plaintiff can demonstrate that the waiver was invalid, then signing it does not bar him or her from seeking damages even if there was no negligence. There are a few things courts look for when determining whether a waiver is valid. These include:
- The language of the waiver must be understandable. If the signer does not understand what he or she is signing, then they may not be expected to have waived away any rights by signing it.
- The waiver must state its terms with no problems of interpretation.
- The waiver must apply to the governed situations and not allow for circumvention of the terms of the document.
- The waiver’s language must specifically limit liability and reflect the terms to be agreed upon.
If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to seek damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other things. Just because you signed a waiver does not always mean you cannot recover damages, but you will need the expertise of an attorney to see you through.
The statute of limitations on personal injury in Oregon is usually two years (with several exceptions). Don’t wait to talk to an attorney about your case.