Can You Sue if You Signed a Liability Waiver in Ohio? | Kisling, Nestico & Redick
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Do liability waivers prevent you from taking legal action? The answers depend on your case.
Written by
KNR Legal
Date posted
March 27, 2023

Liability waivers are everywhere, especially for avid thrill-seekers in Ohio. Whether it’s paintball, rock climbing, or waterskiing, many activities require your signature before the fun can begin.

Signing a liability waiver might feel mindless—but be mindful of what they mean. When you sign a waiver in Ohio, you surrender the right to sue a company for damages you may sustain.

But do liability waivers always prevent you from taking legal action? Could you sue even if you signed one? The answers depend on your case.

Schedule a free consultation with an Ohio injury attorney at Kisling, Nestico, & Redick LLC to determine if you can still pursue compensation. Call 1-800-HURT-NOW  or use our online contact form as soon as possible.

What Makes a Waiver Valid?

To be legally binding, a liability waiver in Ohio must:

  • Have clear, understandable language
  • Be signed by the individual participating (or their legal guardian)

Essentially, a liability waiver is a valid contract if it’s adequately worded and signed. The company cannot be liable for any damages mentioned in the waiver or any inherent risks you should reasonably expect.

Know the Inherent Risks

Inherent risks are the predictable hazards of an activity that occur regardless of safety measures. They may include natural disasters, instances of theft, and certain injuries or illnesses.

For example, riding a rollercoaster can cause emotional distress and a rapid heart rate. An amusement park company cannot prevent a rider from passing out in fear. So, by agreeing to ride, you “assume” the risk of losing consciousness and other inherent risks.

Assumption of risk means you’re aware of the dangers associated with an activity before voluntarily participating. A company or other responsible party cannot be held liable for any damages caused by inherent risks in Ohio, whether or not you signed a liability waiver.

Can You Sue After Signing a Liability Waiver?

Not every liability waiver is foolproof. In some instances, there may be reasons it would not hold up in court.

You may have grounds to pursue a liability waiver lawsuit, such as:

  • Coercion – You were pressured into signing the waiver against your will
  • Defective Product – Your damages were caused by a defective product, i.e. a malfunctioning seatbelt on an amusement park ride
  • Unclear Language – The liability waiver’s terms were ambiguous and confusing, so you didn’t understand what you agreed to
  • Gross Negligence / Willful or Wanton Misconduct – There was an “extreme departure” of the standard of care that lead to damages. Examples may include a waterslide operator accepting a group of people over the weight limit or an on-duty lifeguard under the influence of alcohol. In some states, willful misconduct is more severe than gross negligence, but Ohio generally equates the two.

An Injury Attorney Can Help

An attorney can evaluate your case to determine if you can pursue a lawsuit. Many law firms offer free initial consultations, so scheduling one and seeing if you have a case wouldn’t hurt.

If you do, your attorney will thoroughly investigate, gathering crucial evidence and witness testimony. They may uncover important details such as vague terminology in the waiver you signed or elements of gross negligence. While you recover from your injuries, a legal professional will strengthen your injury claim or lawsuit.

Filing a lawsuit and preparing for a trial can be stressful. It’s best to hire an experienced trial attorney with a history of success in the courtroom and in-depth knowledge of the legal process. Without the right attorney’s help, you’ll likely miss out on the maximum compensation you deserve.

Ohio Liability Waiver FAQs

Does a waiver protect a company against negligence?

In Ohio, a liability waiver can cover instances of negligence. This means that even if your injuries result from a company failing to uphold its duty of care, it may not be liable. An example of ordinary negligence is forgetting to place a wet floor sign after mopping.

Gross negligence is more severe than ordinary negligence, as it involves a higher degree of unreasonable misconduct. You can sue if your damages stemmed from gross negligence or recklessness.

Can a parent legally sign a waiver for their kids?

Ohio is one of few states that allows parents to waive the right to sue on a child’s behalf. This means that if a child is injured, but a parent agreed to the terms of the child’s waiver, the company will likely not be liable.

Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer at KNR

If you’re injured on an Ohio property after signing a liability waiver, you might wonder if you can still pursue a lawsuit. A legal professional can find the answers you need. At Kisling, Nestico, & Redick LLC, our Ohio premises liability lawyers can assess your case in a free initial consultation and help you determine whether you’re able to sue.

Contact KNR at 1-800-HURT-NOW  or online with any liability waiver questions you have—no cost or commitment necessary.