Have you ever signed a waiver before entering a charity sports event, fun run or even before you joined your local gym?
It’s probably something you did without giving much thought to it as, like many of us, thoughts of the event itself or getting your first gym workout underway probably occupied your mind at the time.
Did you know, however, that signing such waivers doesn’t really “waive” your rights away?
Why Sign a Waiver?
It’s common for organisers of big sporting events, or activities such as trampolining or climbing, to ask participants to sign a waiver before they take part.
Organisers hope that by signing a waiver, you effectively give up any right to make a claim for injuries you may sustain when undertaking that activity. Refusal to sign the waiver could mean that the organisers will not let you take part in the event, so it’s easy to understand why people sign them without a second thought.
Although legal in their own right, waivers can’t be used to completely shield event organisers from liability as a result of their negligence. Under the Unfair Contract Terms Act, activity providers can’t exclude or restrict liability for injury or death caused as a result of their negligence.
This is only fair, of course, as you can’t really waive your right to claim if you can’t foresee all the possible risks. For example, if you sign a waiver before entering an obstacle race, should you be prevented from claiming if the poorly built wall you’re climbing collapses or if barbed wire installed as part of the course is not laid out properly and ends up badly cutting you?
Not many people are aware of the Unfair Contract Terms Act – a fact event organisers rely on as they want do dissuade anyone injured from pursuing claims against them. If you have been injured after signing a waiver and are unsure whether you can make a personal injury compensation claim, you should contact a qualified personal injury solicitor who can advise you of the steps you need to take.
Signing Waivers when Joining a Gym
If you are a member or a gym or health club then it’s very likely that you will have signed a waiver when you joined.
New gym members are particularly susceptible to injury as they’re not familiar with the equipment, so gyms often include a clause in new member contracts which attempts to restrict the gym’s liability in the event that the member is injured whilst at the gym.
Gyms and health clubs, like any other business, are subject to the Unfair Contract Terms Act, so it is still possible to claim for injuries sustained in a gym accident. As well as ensuring that new members are given a thorough induction, gyms should ensure they minimise the risk of people becoming injured due to wet floors or poorly maintained equipment.
At Slater and Gordon, we have successfully settled many gym injury claims on behalf of clients who were injured at their gym. Our personal injury solicitors can provide you with expert advice on whether any part of the waiver you have signed is valid and can let you know if your personal injury claim is likely to succeed.
Call us for a free consultation anytime on 0800 916 9046. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Alternatively, contact us online and we’ll get back to you.