What Do You Do If You Are Injured At A Gym, On A Ski Lift, Or At Another Place Of Business And You Knowingly Or Unknowingly Consented To Waive Liability In The Event Of An Accident Or Negligence?
Over the years, as an experienced catastrophic accident attorney , I have represented a number of clients who were injured at a gym, or on a ski slope and the business owner or operator attempted to deny coverage or liability due to an exculpatory clause in the contract, membership agreement, or lift ticket that stated that the facility waived any liability in the event of an accident.
Pennsylvania law provides that an exculpatory clause or a clause waiving liability is valid if it does not violate any policy of the law, the contract is between persons relating entirely to their own affairs and each party is a “free bargaining agent", and is not in effect a contract or adhesion whereby one party simply adheres to a document which is powerless to alter having no alternative than to reject the transaction entirely. Even if a clause in a contract is determined to be exculpatory, the Supreme Court has established standards that must be met before it will relieve one from liability that the law would otherwise impose.
1) It must be strictly construed since it is not favorite of the law.
2) It must spell out the contention of the parties the greatest particularity so as to show an intent to release from liability beyond a reasonable doubt by express stipulation, no inference from words or general import can establish it.
3) It must be construed against the parties seeking immunity.
4) The burden to establish immunity is upon the party who asserts it.
Obviously if you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury or wrongful death at a business entity, property or recreational facility of another, a clause attempting to limit or extinguish their liability may not necessarily release the offending party from their responsibility for injuries and accidents. Many individuals and lawyers pay heed to the chilling effect of these clauses and do not understand that such communication must be understandable without ambiguity or deception and may often call for the involvement of an experienced catastrophic injury or wrongful death lawyer.
For over three decades, the experienced Pennsylvania personal injury and Philadelphia premise liability lawyers of Reiff & Bily have successfully tackled some of the nation’s toughest defendants and largest corporations on a no recovery, no fee basis representing the interests of consumers. We believe that safety and not profitability should be priority one, and our skilled catastrophic injury attorneys have a successful track record holding wrongdoers accountable. For more information, contact us toll free at 1-800-421-9595 or online at www.reiffandbily.com.