How effective are liability waivers in North Carolina?


At some point, a business owner or entrepreneur could ask a client or customer to sign a liability waiver. Some establishments could make such waivers a condition of patronizing a business. Martial arts schools and gyms, for example, may require signing a waiver for membership. General contractors could ask for liability waivers to protect them against property damage claims. These waivers may have some value, but they cannot completely prevent a lawsuit in some situations.

The value and limits of a liability waiver

If someone joins a boxing gym and breaks his or her hand when hitting a bag, a liability waiver may limit that person’s legal options. The individual chose to strike a heavy bag, likely knowing that a hand injury risk is possible. However, a liability waiver could lose some of its value if the gym did not properly maintain equipment, such as community boxing gloves.

Also, a liability waiver would doubtfully protect someone who slipped and fell on a broken staircase that had no handrail. Ultimately, the circumstances leading to an injury may determine whether a liability waiver protects a business. In many scenarios, a liability waiver’s language may have no value.

Insurance protection against legal claims

Business owners who rely solely on liability waivers may not realize how financially exposed they are to a personal injury suit. Purchasing a general liability insurance policy could provide protection when someone ends up hurt due to negligence. A proprietor may obtain additional insurance policies specific to his or her type of business.

Injury victims may discover filing an insurance claim can lead to recovering money for their losses and suffering. Collecting from a $1 million liability policy provided by a solvent insurance company may be a more realistic outcome than getting anything from a business owner on the verge of bankruptcy.