Waivers in Personal Injury Claims

Liability waivers, sometimes referred to as Releases, in Canada can have a broad ability to deny someone the ability to enforce their otherwise enforceable legal rights.  

Occupiers of properties and providers of services in Canada have an obligation to ensure their premises and services are safe for their customers. However, if you sign a waiver before entering a property or engage in the uses of a service, you could be giving up your legal rights should an occupier or service provider fail to live up to their obligations. Waivers can go beyond releasing someone from the legal consequences inherent in an activity (for example the inherent dangers of skiing, snowboarding or other recreational activities), and can go as far as waiving your rights for compensation arising out of injuries resulting from the gross negligence of employees of a property owner or service provider. Even if an injury occurs due to something entirely unrelated to the activity the waiver relates to, you may still be barred from bringing a claim depending on the language of the waiver. This is why many waivers include language with phrasing like or similar to, “you agree to assume all risks and consequences arising out of X activity, even those arising from our negligence.”


Can I Sue If I Signed A Waiver?

While liability waivers do offer strong protection, they are not always enforceable. Some things to consider when looking at whether or not a waiver is enforceable are:

  • Was the waiver brought to your attention and were you able to review all the terms included in it? 
  • Is the waiver written in clear unambiguous language?
  • Does the waiver specifically mention the manner in which you were injured?
  • Does the waiver assert a waiver of the rights of a child? You cannot waive a minor’s rights.  
  • Is the business or individual asserting a defence under a waiver attempting to imply terms into the waiver that aren’t specifically listed?
  • Did you appreciate the rights you were giving up? A waiver requires an unequivocal and conscious intention to abandon rights to be enforceable.
  • Is the business or individual asserting a defence under a waiver referring to a waiver found on a warning sign instead of a signed document?
  • Is the business or individual asserting a defence under a waiver attempting to rely on unclear language or language hidden in the fine print?


Liability Waiver Lawyer

Liability Waivers are a complicated area of law that deals with contractual interpretation. The most important questions will be what the specific language of the waiver is, what the intent of the parties is and what their intentions were at the time the waiver was signed.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you review your personal injury claim and the related waiver and let you know if you have a claim or not. There are strict timelines for bringing claims for injury in British Columbia, so if you have a personal injury claim involving a waiver, contact the lawyers at Taylor & Blair LLP today for a free consultation.