Can the Government Force Me to Waive My Injury Case?

Personal Injury LawSeems like every business is trying to get us to sign some form of a liability waiver — from medical facilities to fitness centers. Add to that ski resorts, cruise ships, campgrounds, and even school field trips, and it seems we’re signing more than a few waivers — and without probably giving them much thought.

But what if the government asks you to sign a waiver? Can the government make the waiver mandatory to participation in public activities? And if you sign it, have you waived any and all future injury claims?

Unfortunately, government entities, including counties, cities, states, and federal, can make signed waivers mandatory, even for participation in taxpayer-funded programs. Though governments aren’t able to carry out the level of sovereign immunity they used to (i.e., in recent years, they have been able to be sued), liability waivers are still usually upheld. As you might expect, the sole purpose of these waivers is to protect government entities from liability for their employees’ negligence (known as vicarious liability). Sadly, courts will generally enforce these liability waivers, despite obvious negligence.

Thankfully, however, there are a couple of situations where courts will rule that a liability waiver is invalid.
1. If a waiver is unconscionable. This means that the waiver is unreasonably unfair or contrary to public policy, thereby making it unenforceable.
2. If a waiver is trying to cover reckless or intentional acts. Many such cases have been thrown out for being blatantly overbroad.

So, while you may have waived your right to sue over an honest accident, the law will generally not allow a government entity to avoid liability for its own recklessness or intentional harm.

And just because you signed a liability waiver doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve forfeited an injury claim. In New Mexico, you should contact the Atkinson Law Firm in Albuquerque for your free consultation!

Scott Atkinson (264 Posts)

Scott concentrates on serious personal injury cases. He believes that a catastrophic injury does not just affect the victim; it also dramatically impacts the victim’s family. Scott is in Albuquerque to fight for you to recover your New Mexico accident losses!