Whether its for sports, a school trip, camp, or indoor recreation, many common activities, particularly athletic ones, require you to sign a waiver or release before participating. That’s also true for children, and often parents are asked to sign waivers or releases on their children’s behalf. Most people believe that if you sign these documents and someone is injured that you can’t file a lawsuit to recover your damages. However, that’s not always true.

Are Releases and Waivers always valid?

No. In North Carolina, a judge will have to review the release and waiver to see if it is valid. Courts will look at the very specific language in the release or waiver to see if the language was clear, if the waiver language was in a noticeable place, whether you signed the release or waiver, and exactly what types of harms the waiver included. It is possible that even if you signed a release or waiver that an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you recover some of your damages.

If a parent signs a waiver or release for their child, is that valid?

That law on that issue in North Carolina is a little unclear. However, many states (which is sometimes a good indication of what a judge in North Carolina might think) have determined that a parent can’t sign a release or waiver for their child. In those cases, someone on behalf of the child can still bring a lawsuit for their injuries.

What if i signed a waiver or release and was injured?

If you have been injured at a business or event that required you to execute a release or waiver before participating, it is important that you get a copy of the waiver or release that you signed and contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can review the waiver or release language and let you know what options you have (and get pressure the company to get a copy of the release if they won’t give it to you). No matter what the company who had you sign the release or an insurance company says, you may still be entitled to some recovery.

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