New Mexico is a place of recreation and adventure for tourists and residents alike. From hot-air ballooning to bungee jumping, New Mexico offers a range of activities that may require participants to sign liability waivers. Even normal daily activities may require a waiver of liability or assumption of risk form, such as joining a gym or daycare center. If you get injured after signing a liability waiver, find out if you still have the right to sue for damages after an accident.
What Is a Liability Waiver? How Does it Work?
A liability waiver is a legally binding contract that protects the creator from liability, or legal responsibility, for the signing party’s injuries. Liability waivers are commonly used for risky or dangerous activities, such as whitewater rafting, skydiving and rock climbing. Many people have signed more liability waivers than they realize, however, as they are also required in many common scenarios, including sports games, amusement parks, boat rentals, trampoline parks, cruises and gyms.
When a participant signs a liability waiver, a legal agreement is created where the provider of the contract is protected from legal responsibility for any injuries suffered by the participant while engaged in the activity. If the activity or event mentioned in the contract does result in injuries to the participant, the victim generally does not have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit for financial compensation or damages against the provider. However, there are exceptions to the rule.
When Are Liability Waivers Enforced in New Mexico?
If you were injured after signing a liability waiver in Mexico, one of the first steps toward pursuing financial compensation is examining the validity of the document that you signed. In New Mexico, state law says that a valid liability waiver does not violate public policy, fulfills the requirements of the state’s contract law and plainly states the risk that actually caused the injury. In New Mexico, a child cannot sign a liability waiver. An adult must sign on behalf of a minor.
If the legal document is valid and enforceable by the courts, the next step is to interpret its language to determine whether it bars you from bringing a lawsuit based on your specific circumstances. Most liability waivers or assumption of risk forms protect providers from liability related to negligence. This means that if the provider was careless or did not use reasonable care and this caused your injury, a liability waiver could protect the provider from being sued.
If, however, the provider was guilty of gross negligence or intent to harm, a liability waiver may not be enforceable. This is a gray area that is decided on a case-by-case basis. If the waiver did not specifically name the thing that caused the injury, this could also be a loophole that allows the victim to sue. Additionally, if an adult signed a liability waiver on behalf of a minor, the courts generally hold that the child can still seek financial compensation.
Do You Have Grounds for a Claim?
Signing a liability waiver before participating in a dangerous activity in New Mexico can make it more difficult to collect financial compensation if an injury or death occurs. It is important to consult with a personal injury lawyer if you wish to bring a lawsuit against an individual, company or entity after signing a waiver of liability. You may need an attorney to decipher the language of the waiver and determine if it applies to your case. If you do have the right to sue one or more parties for your injury, a lawyer can be invaluable during the legal process when a liability waiver is involved.
For more information about your legal rights and options after signing a liability waiver in New Mexico, contact The Fine Law Firm for a free consultation.