Playing sports is an enjoyable way to get out of the house for a bit and get some exercise. For kids, playing sports can be an important way to learn the lessons of teamwork, good sportsmanship, and fair play. For adults, it can be a great way to blow off some steam and have fun. But what about people who are injured while playing sports? Is there any hope of being compensated? If you—or a member of your family—were hurt while playing a sport, here are some things you should know about.
A waiver is not always ironclad
Quite likely you were required to sign a waiver before you or your child could participate in a sport. While a waiver certainly does provide some levels of protection to the facility where the sport was being played, it is not always ironclad.
For one thing, a waiver should inform you of the risks of participating in the sport. If it did not, a judge might hold that it is not enforceable. Second, if the waiver sought to have you release parties even in the event of their own negligence, this has to be set out in a clear statement and should not be buried in boilerplate somewhere.
What’s more, some types of behavior will uphold a finding of liability even if the waiver would otherwise protect the actor. For example, while it is possible to waive your cause of action for negligence, if another party behaved in a willful manner—that is, with the intent to injure—or even in a wanton manner—disregarding a clear probability of harm—it may be that your cause of action will stand in spite of the waiver.
Another thing to consider is whether the party signing the waiver really had the chance to read the document and understood what he or she was signing. If you have a pile of papers thrust at you and are given 30 seconds to sign them all, that is not the same thing as if you were given the documents in advance and told to carefully review them before signing.
The bottom line
You should not assume that you have no recourse simply because you signed a waiver. It’s important to seek out legal advice before determining what you can (and cannot) do. At Singer & O’Neil, we know what it takes to win a case like yours. Contact us today and let us help you protect your rights.