Under Pennsylvania accident law, a waiver of liability often prevents an injured party from being able to assert their legal rights. Pennsylvania courts tend to be pretty strict when it comes to upholding a waiver of liability. Contract law principles govern the application of a waiver of liability. The general rule is that an adult who signs a document will be legally bound by it. Unless there is sufficient evidence that the waiver was signed under fraudulent circumstances, i.e., you were tricked into signing it, it is likely to apply.
Related: Pennsylvania Injury Law – Waivers of Liability for Sports Accidents
However, it’s important to note that waivers of liability apply only to the sports facility or company. They do not apply to other parties, such as an equipment operator, manufacturer or subcontractor. For example, if the injury occurred due to a defective piece of sports equipment, the equipment manufacturer could be held liable.
In addition, there are two key issues which can affect the outcome of any sports injury case involving a waiver of liability. First, the defendant facility or organization must be able to provide a copy of the waiver that you signed. Second, the language of the waiver must be reviewed to determine whether it does in fact bar an injury claim.
The Duty to Produce the Signed Waiver Falls on the Defendant (Sports Gym)
In a personal injury lawsuit in Philadelphia, the injured party files a Complaint which states all the legal claims, factual claims and claims for damages. It’s then up to the defendant to file an Answer which asserts all the defenses, including whether a waiver of liability was signed. During the case, the parties will exchange information including documents, pictures, etc. The signed and executed waiver of liability must be produced by the defendant. In recent years, sports facilities and organizations use electronic waivers of liability. In some cases, the defendant may not be able to provide sufficient evidence of the plaintiff’s electronically signed copy. If the defendant cannot produce the waiver, the plaintiff’s case may succeed.
What’s in the Waiver of Liability?
This is a critical question and can only be answered once the defendant proves that the injured party signed and legally executed the waiver. Every waiver of liability is different. The actual language must be examined to determine whether it prevents the injured party’s legal claims.
Here’s an example of disclaimer language which would be upheld:
I agree to waive any and all legal claims against ABC Sports Co. and hereby assume all risk of injury from any activity occurring within, on or immediately outside of the premises of the gym, involving equipment or machinery or other facilities such as the restroom or locker room. I agree to waive any and all legal claims against ABC Sports Co. for physical, mental or emotional injury as well as for any medical treatment resulting from said injuries.
Here’s an example of disclaimer language that might not be upheld:
I agree to waive any and all legal claims against the ABC Sports Co. which occur due to acts of gross negligence.
Philadelphia Injury & Accident Lawyers
If you were injured and signed a waiver of liability, please call our office to speak to one of our injury and accident lawyers. Our firm is located on Walnut Street in Center City, Philadelphia. Free consultations are available. (866) 641-0806
**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.