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Waiver forms may not stop you from seeking injury compensation

Does that waiver form you signed really keep you from suing the park, gym, dojo or other entity for an injury you suffered due to someone’s act of negligence?

Maybe not.

Waiver forms are used by all sorts of businesses and schools in order to protect against lawsuits — especially when someone is about to take part in activity that might be considered physically intense or risky. While walking a treadmill is pretty routine, for example, it isn’t uncommon for gyms to have waiver forms that absolve them of liability when a customer trips over his or her own shoelaces or falls because he or she was operating the machine at too-high a speed.

However, waiver forms aren’t always as iron-clad as companies would like you to think. Some of them make it sound like you are signing away the right to sue under any circumstance — and that may not be the case.

Take, for example, the situation faced by a model who was injured when she participated in a public styling demonstration with a celebrity hairstylist in 2016.

While the model had signed a release form before participating in the trade show, she still filed a $5 million claim for her injuries. The stylist cut the model’s neck when he was working at a rapid pace. He then tried to deceive the model about her injury and prevented her from leaving the stage to get medical care. The model has suffered permanent scarring.

While the release she signed prevented her from suing for accidents and “unforeseen incidents,” the judge overseeing the case refused to dismiss it based on that waiver. The model’s attorney alleges that the injury wasn’t accidental or unforeseen — instead, it was the result of negligence. The judge agreed that the waiver does not protect the hairstylist against acts of negligence, stating that the terms “accidental” and “negligent” can’t be equated to each other.

If you’ve suffered an injury due to another person’s negligence but think that a waiver or release form prevents you from seeking fair compensation, talk to an attorney. For more information on how our firm approaches personal injury claims and may be able to help, please visit our web page.

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