So what are we really signing? If the document says that you are waiving "negligence," is that really binding? Maybe waiving an "accident" would be understandable. An "act of god" might make sense as well. But can I really say if a person performs grossly negligent acts that I promise never to sue and give up my rights?
A waiver/release is basically a contract between you and a party or organization which states you are letting them "off the hook" for any known and unknown risks in an activity you are participating in. Usually waivers state this also includes risks that may happen due to ordinary negligence.
A waiver is usually not held valid unless these three requirements are met:
- The injury arises from risks stated in the waiver/release contract. Usually a contract will state that you are waiving "known and unknown risks" but may also include examples of the risks involved. These are sometimes considered simple negligence;
- The waiver/release is properly drafted or worded according to the laws of that state where the action is taking place; and
- It does not violate any state laws or public policy.