Those forms with lots of legalese that a parent must sign if their child wants to do an activity may not be worth the paper they are printed on. The form releases that parents are asked to sign to release others from liability for injuries to their children when engaged in activities are being used more and more in increasingly mundane activities. A recent court decision (which is subject to possible review from the Florida Supreme Court) may limit the right of businesses to escape liability for injuries suffered by children. The Florida Fourth District Court of Appeals held this month that an ATV park could not use a release form to escape liability for the death of a 14 year old boy. The wrongful death claim was allowed to proceed despite the fact that the boy’s father signed a waiver of the right to sue before the boy used the ATV.
The problem with these forms is that businesses are using them for more and more activities and instead of making the activities safe they think they can get the forms signed and not worry about safety. An adult should have the right to waive his or her right to sue but they should not be permitted to expose children to danger and let careless or negligent businesses or their insurance companies escape liability.