Is a Waiver of Liability Enforceable in Pennsylvania if You Are Injured?

Table of Contents

    Liability waivers present serious issues for injury victims in need of compensation in Pennsylvania. So, if you signed such a waiver, will it be enforceable?

    Signing a liability waiver means you forfeit your right to sue another party, most likely for possible bodily injury. Even though waivers of liability are often enforceable, they might not be enforced by the court if they go against public policy, are ambiguous, are hidden in contracts, or are not signed by the victim. Because signing a liability waiver does not necessarily mean you will be barred from filing an injury lawsuit, you should proceed as if you can sue following an accident. This means reporting your injury, getting medical attention, and gathering evidence. Regardless of if a victim signed a liability waiver, they will have two years from the date of their accident to sue for injury in Pennsylvania.

    For a free case analysis from The Reiff Law Firm’s Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys, contact us now by calling (215) 709-6940.

    What Does it Mean to Sign a Waiver of Liability in Pennsylvania?

    Signing a liability waiver means the signee essentially gives up their right to file a lawsuit if they are hurt in Pennsylvania because of the other party’s negligence. Such waivers are typically required by establishments and companies to limit their liability and make it harder for victims to recover compensatory damages.

    Let’s say you go rock climbing in Pennsylvania. When you arrive at the location, the company overseeing your rock climbing experience might present you with a document that contains liability waivers. These waivers might include phrasing that informs you of the dangers you face by rock climbing and require you to waive your right to file a lawsuit if you’ re hurt while rock climbing.

    Although waivers of liability are not always enforceable in Pennsylvania, victims should operate under the assumption that they are when signing. That is to say, do not assume that you will be able to sue after signing a liability waiver. Instead, do the opposite. Carefully read the waiver before signing. If you’re not sure exactly what you are agreeing to, do not sign it. Or, if you may be at serious risk of betting injured by partaking in certain activities, and you must sign waivers in order to engage in those activities, seriously consider your situation and proceed from there.

    When Are Waivers of Liability Unenforceable in Injury Cases in Pennsylvania?

    Depending on the actual document that you signed and the exculpatory clause in question, the waiver of liability might not be enforceable in Pennsylvania, allowing you to sue for injury.

    The Waiver is Against Public Policy

    Generally speaking, waivers that go against public policy are not enforceable in Pennsylvania, as held by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Degliomini v. ESM Productions., Inc. and City of Philadelphia. A waiver is only against public policy if it involves a matter of interest to the state or the publicEven if the waiver you signed does not go against public policy, we might be able to find other reasons why it should not be enforced.

    The Waiver is Ambiguous

    Waivers of liability must be clear in phrasing so that the people signing them understand that they are waiving their right to sue if hurt because of negligence in Pennsylvania. As a general rule, you should never sign a liability waiver, or any other document for that matter, whose contents you do not understand.

    The Waiver is Hidden within the Document

    Waivers cannot be hidden within documents in a way that makes those signing such documents unaware of what they are agreeing to. Basically, you cannot hide an exculpatory clause in the fine print of a document. Any rights to sue being waived must be obviously displayed and cannot be hidden within the document.

    The Waiver is Not Signed by the Victim

    No one can sign waivers of liability for someone else. So, if you did not sign a waiver, but someone else did on your behalf, that waiver would not be enforceable. Furthermore, parents cannot sign liability waivers for their children in Pennsylvania.

    What if You Signed a Liability Waiver and Were Hurt in Pennsylvania?

    If you signed a liability waiver and were subsequently injured while engaging in an activity in Pennsylvania, you might still be able to file a lawsuit. Our attorneys will review your case, the cause of your injuries, and the verbiage of the waiver to confirm whether or not you can sue.

    Even in the event that you did sign a liability waiver, do not assume you cannot file a lawsuit. You should proceed as if you can sue and report your injuries to the negligent party, seek medical attention, and contact our attorneys. Our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys will look over the document you signed to confirm if the waiver itself is against public policy, was ambiguous, or was intentionally hidden in the contract so that you did not know what you were signing at the time.

    The deadline to file your injury claim will be two years from the date of the accident. Consulting our lawyers immediately will be important, especially if we have to review the waiver to see if it will be upheld in court. If you believe you cannot bring a claim because you signed a waiver, you might miss the deadline.

    If you can bring a claim despite having previously signed a liability waiver, you must submit evidence of negligence. This might come in the form of eyewitness statements, surveillance footage, photographs, and medical records. You should also start recording your losses immediately after your accident takes place so that we can submit proof of damages in your claim.

    If you signed a waiver and were injured because of another party unrelated to the waiver, you can bring a lawsuit in Pennsylvania.

    Call Our Pennsylvania Lawyers to Discuss Your Injury Case Today

    Call The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 to schedule a free case assessment with our Bethlehem, PA personal injury attorneys.

    Our Offices

    1500 John F. Kennedy Blvd #501
    Philadelphia, PA 19102
    Get Directions

    Get a Free Case Review

    "*" indicates required fields

    This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.