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Parents Be Cautious of Signing Waiver and Release Forms

You Might Be Signing Your Child’s Rights Away

Author: Hanson & Hanson/Wednesday, March 5, 2014/Categories: Premises Liability

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Parents understandably want their children to enjoy themselves and to have fun with friends.  Often parents or children will be invited to attend birthday parties or group gatherings at businesses that provide entertainment for children through some sort of physical activity.  These establishments are marketed to children and parents as a place for children to have fun with a group of friends.  Parents whose children are invited to these businesses may find that they are required to sign a waiver and release before their child is allowed to go inside and participate.

Beginning in April of 2010, Florida law authorized the natural guardians (generally the parents) to sign a legal document known as a waiver and release.  The law authorizing this is Florida Statute, Section 744.301(3).  Paragraph, or subsection (3), states that natural guardians “are authorized, on behalf of any of their minor children, to waive and release, in advance, any claim or cause of action against a commercial activity provider, or its owners, affiliates, employees, or agents, which would accrue to a minor child for personal injury, including death, and property damage resulting from an inherent risks in the activity.”  The term, “inherent risk” is defined to mean essentially the dangers and conditions, whether known or not, that are characteristic, intrinsic, and or integral to the activity and not eliminated even when the business acts with due care in a reasonably prudent manner.

Parents whose children are invited to attend these functions may feel pressured to sign these waivers and release forms to allow their kids to participate, especially if you and your children are with a group or have travelled to the business in a car pool arrangement, and you are standing in a line with other parents and children in your particular party at the entrance to the establishment. 

Additionally, many businesses will not allow your child into the establishment until and unless the waiver and release forms are signed.  Many parents may not take the time to carefully read the waiver and release forms presented at the entrance of the business.  If the business or establishment complies with Section 744.301(3) (b) there is a presumption that the waiver is valid.  There are limits to this waiver and release, and it will not cover all injuries, but parents should be cautious about potentially signing away the rights of their children.  

There are numerous injuries, some extremely serious, that are occurring at some of these establishments.  Parents should at least understand that they may be waiving their child’s rights by signing these forms.  They should also understand that these businesses will try to use these waiver forms as a defense in any injury or death claim involving their child.

If you or a loved one has been injured, and you have questions or concerns about Florida’s waiver and release law, contact our firm.  We will be glad to speak to you. Our Premises Liability attorneys will explain your rights in your particular case and can tell you if you have a legitimate claim for your injuries. Contacts us at 1-407-872-1212 for a free initial consultation.

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