Recreational Waivers of Liability Are Enforceable in Pennsylvania

August 16, 2019

Liability waivers are common in the recreational context and the sporting world, as a means of limiting the financial exposure of those who operate such enterprises.  These waivers often intimidate prospective injury plaintiffs, and for good reason — in Pennsylvania, liability waivers are generally enforceable.

If you’ve signed a liability waiver and have been injured, it’s important that you evaluate the situation at hand more closely.  The circumstances may be such that the waiver will not actually be enforced, so don’t resign yourself to a “lost” case from the beginning.

Liability Waivers Must Be Clear and Unambiguous

If you signed a liability waiver before engaging in the recreational or sporting activity that ultimately led to your injuries, then Pennsylvania law may prevent you from litigating the claims at issue — the court may deem the liability waiver valid and enforceable and dismiss your claims on that basis.

Fortunately, you may be able to show that the liability waiver — despite the fact that you signed it — is not actually enforceable.  In Pennsylvania, valid and enforceable liability waivers must:

  1. Be clearly-written and unambiguous with respect to its function and intent; and
  2. Be sufficiently obvious (visually) in the context of the signed contract.

So, how might this affect your claims?

Suppose that you are injured while attending a horse-riding class.  Before class began, you signed a liability waiver as part of the attendance contract.  The liability waiver language was not clearly-written, however, and used confusing and non-standard language.  Further, the liability waiver language was in small print, hidden away among pages of other contractual provisions (so that you would not notice it).

Given these facts, it’s likely that the court would find that the liability waiver was hidden and ambiguous in its intent, and therefore unenforceable.  You would be entitled to pursue your injury claims in a court of law.

Contact an Allentown Injury Attorney for Legal Assistance

If you have been injured in a recreational or sporting activity, then you may be entitled to compensation under Pennsylvania law.  In situations where the defendant had you sign a liability waiver, your ability to secure compensation may be impacted significantly.  With a thorough investigation into the facts and persuasive advocacy, however, you may be able to convince the court not to enforce the liability waiver, thus paving the way for a proper damage award.

Here at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC, our team of attorneys has decades of experience representing the interests of injured plaintiffs in a variety of situations, including those that center around a recreational/sporting activity and that involve a liability waiver.  Over the years, we have gained insight into what is necessary to poke holes in the enforceability of the defendant’s liability waiver.

Ready to speak to a qualified Allentown injury attorney about your claims?  Call us at 888-777-7098 or complete an online intake form through our website to schedule a free initial consultation with our firm.  We will evaluate your case and determine what next steps must be taken to secure the compensation you deserve.