Archive for the ‘Waiver of Liability’ Category

Should I sign that waiver form at little Johnie’s lazer tag birthday party?

January 14th, 2011 Comments off

Sign it -it doesn’t matter anyway.   You can’t take your kid to a birthday party these days without some teenage party worker handing you the waiver of liability form before you enter the building.  You know- the form where you purport to waive any and all claims of liability against the establishment if little Johnie gets hurt.  Well, if the party is 1) at a pool, gym or place of amusement or recreation; and 2) the owner receives a fee for the use of the facilities- then that waiver form is worthless. Should I sign that waiver form at childs birthday?New York’s General Obligations Law states that all such agreements exempting pools, gymnasiums, places of public amusement or recreation and similar establishments from liability for negligence are void and unenforceable.

General Obligations Law Section 5-326 states: every covenant, agreement or understanding in or in connection with, or collateral to, any contract, membership application, ticket of admission or similar writing, entered into between the owner or operator of any pool, gymnasium, place of amusement or recreation, or similar establishment and the user of such facilities, pursuant to which such owner or operator receives a fee or other compensation for the use of such facilities, which exempts the said owner or operator from liability for damages caused by or resulting from the negligence of the owner, operator or person in charge of such establishment, or their agents, servants or employees, shall be deemed to be void as against public policy and wholly unenforceable.

So why do the owners of such establishments continue to make people sign the forms?  Simple…. deterrence!  People might think twice before contacting a lawyer if they believe they have signed away their rights. 

So the next time your drop little Johnie off at lazer tag or Chuck E. Cheese, take solace in knowing that the waiver form is worthless.  And if he slips on ice cream and cracks his head open- give us a call.