Did You Sign Away Your Right To Sue?

It’s hard to believe, but in legal terms, one of the most dangerous moments in a person’s life is often just as they’re about to do something fun, and are in a hurry to get on with it. This is especially true for riskier activities, such as bungie jumping, or skydiving, where, before the activity can take place, the participant is often asked to sign a waiver or some other legal document.
This, legally speaking, is the crisis point.


No Time For Reading


The first rule that any concerned personal injury lawyer in St. Petersburg will tell you, is to always read the fine print. A legally binding document is just that; legally binding and enforceable. By signing that document, you are consenting to certain conditions, or even agreeing to have certain privileges or rights taken away. Few people are going to sign a mortgage document on a house without having an expert look at it, but when it comes to being “in the moment” and wanting to get to the fun activity as quickly as possible many people will simply sign a document or waiver, as is, without actually reading any of the content inside it. This can be a potentially fatal, legal mistake.

In general, waivers and other contracts usually try to protect a company from legal action in the event something goes. For activities like bungie jumping and sky diving, it’s understood that there’s a certain amount of risk, and the waiver is an attempt to push much of the legal and medical responsibility for any mishaps on the person undertaking the activity. In other words, if something should happen, and you get hurt, you can’t sue the company for it, because that was one of the conditions you didn’t read when you signed your name on the contract and agreed it was legally valid.


All Is Not Lost


However, even if you know you signed a waiver, and you do get hurt, that doesn’t mean that such waivers or other contracts are 100% legally “bullet proof.” Gross negligence, for example, is one way that a waiver can easily be overcome. For example, if a tragedy in skydiving occurs, where someone dies as a result of being given a parachute with no parachute in it, that is a high level of gross negligence that can be directly blamed on the skydiving company, not the participant.

While it can be argued that an injury such as a sprained ankle might be a result of the participant him or herself not following the advised training, and failing to land on the ground properly of their own accord, a massive equipment failure like not providing a working parachute is a fault that lands squarely with the company. Another issue with waivers and other contracts is that the wording may not always be concrete, or sufficiently legally detailed.

This is why, even if you’ve signed a waiver or other contract, you may want to consider bringing this contract and the details of your case to a personal injury lawyer in St. Petersburg. You may find you have more legal options than you think..