Colorado’s natural beauty makes for not only fantastic scenery but also some of the most impressive outdoor recreation in the country. From skiing, skydiving, rafting, bungee jumping, zip-lining, and everything in between, there is something to appeal to everybody–whether you are a tourist or a resident, whether you are a solo adventurer or part of a group, and whether you are a novice or an expert.
While such activities are certainly thrilling and can create lifelong memories, they can also be very dangerous. After all, much of the appeal for outdoor recreation lies in the heart-racing effects of its inherent risks. Of course, outdoor recreational companies already know this. That is why they will almost always require participants to sign a waiver before allowing them to begin their activities.
Although the specifics of such waivers may vary from business to business, they will all always make the customer promise one thing–that they will not sue the company in the event that they become injured while partaking in their services. Because these waivers are meant to protect the state’s tourism industry from frivolous lawsuits, they are protected by Colorado law.
However, this does not necessarily mean that signing a waiver means you have given up all of your rights and/or protections. In fact, a waiver may essentially be voided if the company or any of its representatives directly caused an accident by acting negligently. If you have recently suffered personal injury after signing a waiver (or simply do not know what you would do if you were), read on to find out more.
At this point, you may be wondering what exactly constitutes a waiver at all. In simple terms, a waiver can be defined as a document where the signee indicates “an intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right or privilege.” They may also be known as exculpatory clauses, hold harmless clauses, legal releases, or liability waivers.
When it comes to outdoor recreation in Colorado, customers will generally be required to sign a waiver before participating in any sort of activity offered by the service provider. By signing the waiver, the customer agrees to a contract where they cannot hold the service provider liable for any injuries or property damage that may occur as a result of the relevant activity. Such waivers may even go so far as to stipulate that the service provider cannot be held liable for any negligence on the part of itself, its employees, or its agents.
Refusing to sign a waiver will effectively bar a customer from partaking in the activity. Since outdoor recreation is such a huge part of Colorado’s tourism industry, the state has had to put strong waiver protections in place. Failure to do so would leave companies vulnerable to frivolous lawsuits that could easily put them out of business (or at the very least, unable to afford insurance).
Signing a waiver does not necessarily mean that personal injury victims relinquish all of their rights in the event of an accident. In fact, as we have already established earlier in this blog post, there are certain cases where a waiver may become voided and unenforceable. Every state deals with waiver laws differently. In the state of Colorado, liability waivers stop being enforceable when the service provider has engaged in intentional, knowing, or reckless misconduct.
In the 1981 case of Jones v. Dressel, the Colorado Supreme Court established four distinct factors that the courts must consider when deciding the enforceability of a waiver:
Most times, when a waiver is found to be unenforceable, it is due at least in part to it being poorly written. Waivers, like any other sort of legal document, must be written in clear and unambiguous language. They should specify just who is involved in the agreement and what specific rights are being waived. Otherwise, it could be argued that the signee did not actually know what they were agreeing to.
Waivers must also be clearly visible by the participant. This means that they cannot be hidden in fine print or deep within another contract. They must also be signed specifically by the person it implicates. In addition, any possible injuries should be listed in the waiver–either in the known or unknown risks section.
Furthermore, it is important to know that liability waivers can only protect companies from ordinary negligence. Gross negligence or reckless conduct, however, is not protected. If the company partakes in either of those, the waiver will become essentially unenforceable. Then, the victim is entitled to seek out legal help and compensation.
Everyone should feel free to partake in thrill-seeking activities without fear of being left without legal recourse. If you partake in outdoor recreational activities in the state of Colorado and become injured due to the company’s gross negligence or otherwise reckless conduct, you may be entitled to seek out legal help and collect compensation for your damages. It can be a long, grueling, and expensive process to recover from personal injury. The liable party should be held responsible for paying for your damages.
No matter what kind of accident you have been involved in, we at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country. You should never have to pay for somebody else’s mistakes. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our trusted nationwide personal injury attorneys. We have helped countless clients successfully resolve their personal injury cases. We can help you, too. Let us fight for you and get you the compensation you rightfully deserve.