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Are Liability Releases Worth the Paper They Are Printed On?

Posted by Dev Sethi | Apr 15, 2014 | 0 Comments

he Arizona Daily Star talked to Ted Schmidt this week about the validity of liability releases or waivers. You know, the forms you see or sign before engaging in any number of activities ranging from roller skating to skydiving to horseback riding to going to a baseball game. The question, "Do these releases mean anything?"

The answer, "It depends."

The waiver does not fully free the retailer of responsibility or liability, said Ted Schmidt, an attorney specializing in injury and wrongful-death cases at Kinerk, Schmidt & Sethi PLLC Attorneys.

"If the release does not have specifics of everything that could go wrong and if it doesn't spell it out, the families could hold them accountable," he said.

The person signing the waiver must also be told of the risks and how to prevent them, Schmidt said.

Whether a liability release or waiver is valid and precludes a claim for negligence will always be a question of fact. But a business looking to limit its potential exposure should use a clear, easy to understand release that explains the different risks involved in the activity. Ideally, the release would be presented by an employee who would also discuss the risks and have the document signed after some meaningful interaction. A boilerplate, hard to read and understand form that is signed in haste is less likely to be effective.

Ted was interviewed in connection with an article discussing the lack of safety regulations governing the rental of jumping castles, so popular at kid's birthday parties. In recent weeks, in two separate incidents, jumping houses were picked up in the wind and thrown airborne. Children inside each jumping castle were hurt.

You can read the entire article here.

And if you want to read more about liability releases and waivers, you can read Dev Sethi's article from theArizona Attorney here.

About the Author

Dev Sethi

Dev Sethi litigates and tries a wide-range of complex injury and death cases throughout Arizona. He has Martindale Hubbell's highest rating, AV, and he is listed in "Best Lawyers." Dev is also recognized as an Arizona Super Lawyer in the area of plaintiff's products liability litigation.Dev has been at the forefront of auto product defect litigation. He played a key role in uncovering the Goodyear Load Range E tire scandal and worked to hold Ford Motor Company responsible for the danger posed by their now notorious 15-passenger vans. Dev is currently representing families in product liability suits against the nation's largest corporations including General Motors, Ford, Pentair Pools and Invacare.

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Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian is one of the most experienced, successful personal injury law firms in the Tucson area. Established in 1995, our firm has a long history of success, as seen in our many victories.

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