Thousands of people attending a new trampoline park in Dalkeith (near Edinburgh) signed a waiver excluding the park from liability for injury. However, it may be the waiver is entirely useless under the law.
More than 100 of those presented with the waiver suffered 'incidents' since it opened last month. These incidents have included both minor and serious accidents including a broken neck, back and other broken bones. Health and safety officials are now investigating the park.
However, the document designed to protect Ryze, the trampoline park from legal action may not be compliant with the law in Scotland. It is alleged than many of those injured in the park have already sought legal advice about making a personal injury compensation claim.
Ryze have displayed the utmost confidence in the waiver saying:
"We have been diligent to secure the legal protections necessary for an active sports business like ours. We are very confident in our legal standing. The waiver and protections we have in place are the same as thousands of other businesses throughout the UK."
However, solicitors at Digby Brown said: "any contract term which attempts to exclude or restrict liability for death or personal injury is void and unenforceable. It is completely meaningless."
So, today at Unlock the Law we look at exactly what it means to sign a waiver under the law.
How does signing a waiver affect a personal injury claim?
Organisers of dangerous physical activities owe a duty of care to persons taking part in these activities. If the organisers breach this duty of care and are found to be negligent, a waiver will not protect the organisers from their legal responsibility.
Normally, if you take part in such an activity or even any activity that requires you to sign a waiver you are presented with a document which states that in the even of any injury or death, the organiser is not responsible. However, even if you sign this document you do not automatically lose your legal right to make a claim.
The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 is designed to protect consumers from exactly what it says in the title – unfair terms in a contract. It is unfair for the organiser to impose agreeing to this waiver as a condition of taking part in their activity and to exclude themselves from taking precautions to uphold their duty of care towards participants.
In practice, this means that any contract term that makes an attempt to exclude liability for death or personal injury is void and un-enforceable. This means that if you are injured carrying out an activity that you have signed a waiver for, you are still able to make a personal injury compensation claim if you are injured as a result of the organisers negligence.
Making A Personal Injury Claim In the UK - Complete Guide
If you have been injured as a result of the negligence of someone else, please read our complete guide to making a personal injury claim in the UK to find out everything you need to know about making a claim.
For our audience in Scotland, there's also our guide - Personal Injury & Medical Negligence Law in Scotland
Follow us on Social