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Can You Sue After Signing a Liability Waiver in Colorado? 

August 29, 2023Personal Injury

Liability waivers are common legal documents in Colorado. You may encounter a waiver at the gym, on a cruise ship, at ski resorts and many other places where businesses wish to protect themselves from assuming legal responsibility for participant injuries. If you sign a liability waiver, this can make it more difficult to recover financial compensation from an at-fault party. However, you may still have the right to sue in many situations.

What Is a Liability Waiver?

A liability waiver is a legal document that serves as a release form. It can also be called a release of liability waiver, exculpatory agreement, waiver of rights, disclaimer or assumption of risk form. These documents, when signed, release the business or party from being held legally and financially responsible for bodily injuries or property damage if the signing party gets hurt while participating in the activity. 

Liability waivers state that the participant was warned of the risks of participation and agreed to assume these risks. In most situations, failing to sign a liability waiver means that the individual will be barred from participating in the activity. Liability waivers are most often seen in places where there is a higher potential risk of injury, such as gyms and fitness centers, recreational facilities, rental companies, guided tours, sporting events, horseback riding tours, and whitewater rafting adventures.

When Are Liability Waivers Unenforceable?

Do not assume that you do not have the right to file a personal injury claim against a person or party if you signed a liability waiver. Not all liability waivers are enforceable in Colorado. The strength of a waiver in terms of barring an injured participant from filing a lawsuit depends on several factors. A liability waiver may not hold up in court for any of the following reasons:

  • Lack of clarity. A liability waiver must clearly state that the participant releases the company from all liability, including negligence. Ambiguous or unclear terms could invalidate the waiver or create loopholes.
  • Missing information. If a liability waiver does not adequately describe the risks of an activity, injuries caused by that risk may fall outside of the waiver’s protection.
  • Poor or unprofessional presentation. The waiver must be reasonably legible and delivered in a way that makes it easy for the signing party to read and understand what he or she is being asked to sign.
  • Terms that violate public policy. Liability waivers may not contain terms that are in conflict with the law or public policy.

These are just a few examples of many issues that could be brought to the attention of the courts to fight the enforceability of a liability waiver. Excessive legal jargon, fine print, contracts that are too long for participants to read and contracts signed by minors are other examples of issues that could lead to a liability waiver being ruled invalid.

You May Still Be Able to Sue After Signing a Liability Waiver in Colorado

Even if the liability waiver you signed is enforceable, you may still have the right to sue one or more parties for negligence. The liability waiver may not apply in extreme cases, such as if the company or one of its employees was grossly negligent or exhibited a reckless disregard for the lives or safety of others. You may also have the right to sue a third party that is not protected by the liability waiver, such as the manufacturer of a defective product that malfunctioned during the activity.

 There are many ways to get around a liability waiver in Colorado. If you or a loved one was injured after signing any type of liability waiver in Denver, contact an attorney at Dormer Harpring for a free case review. You may still be eligible for financial compensation. Our Denver personal injury lawyers will analyze your case and the document that you signed to give you personalized legal advice about your right to sue.