“Please be careful” is a continuous warning parents relay to their children, but children are often faced with many risks that are outside of their—and their parents’ or guardians’—control. This is especially true when minor children visit businesses that specifically cater as places of amusement, where things such as other rambunctious patrons, faulty equipment, poorly-trained employees, or dangerous premises can potentially cause injury, no matter how careful an individual child or their guardian may be. Many parents and guardians question the validity of waivers they are often required to sign on behalf of their children. We are often asked, “Is this even legal?”; “Can they actually do that?” or “What does this mean?
Adults, on the other hand, may feel more confident about their own safety, and might sign the paperwork to engage in an activity without even reading it. By doing this, however, an adult may be giving up important legal rights—while at the same time placing themselves at the mercy of a for-profit business and its employees.
When adults and children visit businesses offering activities that present a risk of injury, patrons are almost always required to sign a pre-injury release and waiver. Businesses such as trampoline parks, climbing gyms, rafting companies, paintball parks, and other entertainment venues use these waivers both as an attempt to limit their liability for injuries and to discourage claims. The most common forms describe the risks of engaging in the activity and require the participant to assume any and all responsibility for injuries or death, as well as releasing the business from liability and waiving the right to make any claims.