Life involves a certain amount of risk. You don’t have to be a thrill seeker to encounter the occasional dangerous situation, either voluntarily or involuntarily. For example, no one wants to have surgery, which is not only unpleasant, but always carries the risk that something might go wrong, even when handled by the most competent professionals.
In an effort to protect themselves from lawsuits, professionals in certain industries started requiring their customers to sign waivers acknowledging they knew there was a certain amount of risk involved. It’s a way for professionals to cover their butts and avoid spending time and money fighting lawsuits.
But the pendulum has started to swing the other way, with an increasing number of industries requiring their customers to sign waivers absolving them of all responsibility. Not only are some of these contracts ridiculous, but many of them won’t hold up in court.
Ideally, you should always read a contract thoroughly before you sign anything. Any time a contract absolves the other party of all responsibility, even if they were negligent in performing their duties, don’t sign it because that’s not legal. Just because they’re working in a risky profession is no reason for them to escape all accountability. You can either refuse to sign the contract, or modify it, crossing out the parts that absolve them from all responsibility in the event of negligence. Both parties need to initial next to any sections of a contract that have been added or crossed out in order to acknowledge that they both agree to the change.
If it’s too late and you’ve already signed a waiver that lets the other party off scot-free and then been injured, you may still be able to sue if your case meets certain conditions.
In order to have a viable case for suing the other party, you need to be able to prove that they were negligent in fulfilling their end of the bargain. If you think they were negligent, but you don’t have any proof, an attorney will be unlikely to take your case.
Filing a lawsuit is expensive and no one does so lightly. If you’re lucky and the court rules in your favor, you might be able to recover damages to match what you paid for your medical care as a result of the negligence. In certain cases, you can also ask for damages for emotional pain and suffering, which, while more abstract, is a legal term that does hold weight in the courts and can be eligible for damage awards.
If your injuries were relatively minor and inexpensive to handle, the cost of filing the lawsuit might be more than the damages you’d be able to recover, even if you did win the case. In that case, you’d be better off not suing, even if you can prove negligence.
f you or a loved one has suffered an injury or some other type of accident, you need the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.