Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense & Personal Injury Attorneys
What You Need to Know About Liability Waivers

What You Need to Know About Liability Waivers

My family and I were recently at an indoor entertainment center for kids. These days, almost all those types of places require that you sign releases, also commonly known as liability waivers, which protect the business from being sued if someone gets hurt on their premises.

As you’re probably aware, you generally have to sign some form of release or waiver to do almost anything that involves the slightest of risks. And we’re often presented with these important documents immediately before the activity in which we’re participating. Most of the time, we all (including me) are so excited or in such a hurry that we don’t even bother to read what we’re actually “waiving.”

And while, fortunately, the majority of the time we never have to think twice about it, sometimes those pesky waivers become an issue in our lives and we regret not having read them in advance.

In my family’s case, the “sometimes” came to fruition at the above-referenced entertainment center. More specifically, it came to fruition thanks to their ball pit. Our kids were having a blast messing around, but of course, wanted their mommy to join in the fun. So my wife, always wanting to accommodate, climbed the steps and leapt right in. What the center’s waiver didn’t include was any warning about the shallowness of their ball pit. So the fact that it was about 18 inches from the top to the hard wooden floor at the bottom did not make for a cushiony landing. One broken foot bone later, I was certainly left wondering about that waiver.

The main question these situations raise is obviously whether standard liability waivers are valid or binding on the participant signor (us). In other words, if we do get injured after signing them, do we now have no recourse? As is almost always the case in law, and especially in personal injury matters, the answer is the very unsatisfying “it depends.” And it depends on a number of factors, including but not limited to the following: was the language of the waiver clear and unambiguous, did the wording comply with any state or local laws or regulations, did the waiver try to protect the company from just ordinary as opposed to gross negligence, did the waiver warn of the particular types of risks that may be experienced, etc.

The good news is that in Florida, these types of provisions that try to release a company from liability for their negligence (i.e. failing to warn that its ball pit was too shallow for even a dachshund to safely jump into) are generally disfavored. And thus, while each situation is, of course, dependent on its own unique facts, if you or a loved one is ever injured after signing a waiver, do not despair. We will dissect every word of an applicable waiver and passionately contest a company’s refusal to accept responsibility when our client was injured because of their negligence.

Most of all, take these things away regarding this issue. First, try to get in the habit of reading those waivers (and if you feel comfortable, even ask for a copy of them and keep for your records…you’ll start to sense which ones seem more reasonable than others and which are absolutely absurd in how much they try to avoid responsibility). But most importantly, if you or a loved one are unfortunately injured during an activity after signing a waiver where you believe there was negligence of any kind, do not automatically think that the waiver somehow prevents you from being properly compensated. To the contrary, document as much as you can. Take pictures of the possible negligence (the shallow ball pit, the slippery floor, the very old and rusty equipment, etc.), the injuries, and get names and numbers or emails of potentially helpful witnesses. And please contact us as early as possible so we can assist and act promptly to protect your rights.

As for the ball pit saga, my wife healed quickly and was gracious, telling me she’d rather we use our resources to fight for our clients who count on us.

Categories:

Our Victories

  • Not Guilty, Acquitted at Trial Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon

    Outcome: Client was alleged to have used his vehicle to strike victim, and there was video of the incident which could have been interpreted to actually show the crime. The state was offering significant prison time before trial. By meticulous planning and strategic cross-examination to expose the motives and fabrications by the alleged victim, and an eyewitness in support of the alleged victim, Rudenberg & Glasser convinced a jury to acquit the client and avoid a mandatory long prison sentence.

  • Domestic Violence
    Outcome: Rudenberg & Glasser went to trial and were able to show during cross-examination that the alleged victim was the aggressor and that the client acted in self-defense. The jury returned a not guilty verdict almost immediately following trial.
  • Domestic Violence With 911 Call and Pictures
    Outcome: Rudenberg & Glasser took the case to trial after fleshing out inconsistencies in the alleged victim's account. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty and the client's unblemished record was preserved.
  • False Arrest

    Outcome: Attorney Glasser was able to show with video footage that his client did not commit the alleged offense and furthermore, the police officer who ordered his arrest was negligent in his investigation and improperly supervised.

    Read more about this story on the Sun Sentinel.

  • Probation Only Federal Conspiracy to Commit Mail & Wire Fraud

    Outcome: Through compelling sentencing memorandum and passionate oral argument, Rudenberg & Glasser were able to convince the federal court judge to sentence their client to treatment for substance abuse, and no incarceration, even though the client had a lengthy criminal history and the Government was seeking prison time.

  • Felony DUI: Client was in an Accident and Left the Scene
    Outcome: Rudenberg & Glasser filed a compelling motion to suppress evidence based on law enforcement's actions during the investigation. Rudenberg & Glasser were able to persuade the prosecutor prior to the motion to suppress hearing that the charge should be broken down from a felony to a misdemeanor and the client was offered probation instead of the previously sought prison sentence.
  • Final Injunction Hearing
    Outcome: Client desperately needed to avoid a final injunction on his record. Rudenberg & Glasser defended him at the hearing and proved that the Petitioner was not in fear for her safety. The judge dismissed the injunction.
  • First-Degree Misdemeanor: Resisting Police Officer Without Violence
    Outcome: Mr. Rudenberg presented evidence that the police officer’s version of events was not credible, and that accusations were made to justify excessive use of force by police officer. Jury returned a verdict of not guilty in less than five minutes.
  • First-Degree Misdemeanors: DUI & Possession of Cannabis
    Outcome: Mr. Rudenberg won a motion arguing the DUI checkpoint was conducted in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and the Judge entered an order suppressing all evidence. Case was dropped by the State, and client avoided a mandatory conviction for DUI, as well as mandatory fines and license suspensions.
  • $250,000 Pre-Trial Personal Injury

    Outcome: Client was injured by a malfunctioning door, requiring stitches and leaving a scar on client's knee. There were limited medical bills and no surgeries, but through extremely challenging and successful negotiations, Rudenberg & Glasser were able to secure a settlement of $250,000.

What Our Clients Are Saying

We go above and beyond to be there for clients to provide them with the best outcome possible.
  • “It's nice to know that you actually cared and it didn't seem like this case was just another folder.”

    John J.

  • “Their great efforts got us the most unexpected, but amazing outcome for what we were up against.”

    M.C.

  • “The amount of respect and empathy Attorney Rudenberg has for his clients can not be described in words.”

    C J

  • “They will give you honest, truthful, realistic counsel and they will fight hard for you; as they did for me.”

    Donovan

  • “Great results, compassionate service, and extremely professional.”

    C.C.

  • “I Was Able to Have My Name Cleared”

    Domestic Violence Client

  • “If anyone, family or friends, should get into trouble we know who to call!”

    Parent of Charles C.

  • “I don’t usually post reviews but I had to make an exception in this case. Mike and everyone at the office were beyond helpful. Went to court twice once to find out my charges the last to find out everything was dropped. I couldn’t have asked for a more pro”

    G.P.

  • “He Went Out of His Way to Go the Extra Mile”

    David

  • “Here to help you at all costs!”

    L.L.

  • “THE BEST ATTORNEY”

    A. Ariel

  • “Outstanding”

    Jonathan mujica

  • “A great legal team”

    A. T.

  • “I don’t usually post reviews but I had to make an exception in this case. Mike and everyone at the office were beyond helpful. Went to court twice once to find out my charges the last to find out everything was dropped. I couldn’t have asked for a more pro”

    G.P.

  • “I would recommend them to anyone that’s looking for someone that really cares!”

    R.N.