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An injury waiver is a document that relieves one party of the responsibility for injuries or harm that may occur to another party or property in the future. The owner of a venue who plans to rent it out for a party provides an example of an instance when such a document could be used.
Signing an injury waiver can release a party from a wide range of responsibilities that he may otherwise have. Using the aforementioned example, consider if the renter of a venue trips while unloading equipment and the party is canceled. If he has not signed an injury waiver, he may be able to sue the owner for his injuries and expenses related to his medical care. He may be able to seek the recovery of losses of revenue and the repayment of costs for monies invested in the event, such as equipment rentals and advertising. Furthermore, he could possibly secure a judgment against the owner for his attorney fees and court costs.
An injury waiver is designed to act as protection from such financial risks. These documents can be written in a number of ways. Some are brief and simply state that the signer understands that the other party assumes no responsibility. Other waivers can be very specific, listing items such as the dates, places, and people who will be involved in a given activity.
They may also specify the party upon whom the liability is to fall. This is not always the party engaged in the activity. If, for example, an employer sponsors its employees to engage in a risky activity, the employer may agree to assume responsibility in the event of injury. Such an arrangement will likely require signed documents from the employees and their employer.
These documents are not always limited to injuries. In many cases, an injury waiver addresses events that include death and personal property damage. In many jurisdictions, injury waivers for minors must be signed by an adult with authority to make decisions for the child. Like many contracts, however, injury waivers can often afford room for argument even when they are signed. Courts may not recognize one party’s rights to unconditionally release a person from responsibility of the harm caused to another.
On the contrary, there are cases when people are asked to sign such waivers and there is actually little or no need. This is because there are some activities for which the risk is considered assumed. If a person were to engage in such an activity and then become injured, the court would likely find that the injured party was, or should have been, fully aware of the risk that he was taking. Sky diving is an example of such an activity.
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