Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida car accident case requiring the court to determine if a liability release waiver signed by the plaintiff prevented her from pursuing a case against the defendant. Ultimately, the court concluded that the scope of the release waiver did not include the specific type of claim brought by the plaintiff.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s written opinion, the plaintiff was run over by a pick-up truck while she was attending a race at the Daytona International Speedway. Evidently, before the accident, employees of the speedway instructed the tow-truck driver to back the truck up into the area where the plaintiff was standing.
As a condition of allowing the plaintiff into the raceway, the racetrack asked that she sign a release of liability waiver. In essence, that waiver stated that the plaintiff acknowledged that there were dangers associated with standing on or near the raceway and that she agreed not to pursue any claims if she was injured due to “any negligent” actions of the defendant.
The plaintiff initiated a lawsuit against the racetrack alleging that the raceway was grossly negligent, through its employees. The raceway argued that the waiver signed by the plaintiff prevented her from filing the case.
The Court’s Decision
The court first explained that, as a general matter, liability release waivers are enforceable when fairly entered into and when properly phrased. However, the court took issue with the language of the release insofar as it included a release of liability from injuries caused by “all negligent” actions.
The court explained that while a party can protect itself from lawsuits caused by its own negligence by executing a liability release waiver, a party cannot absolve itself of responsibility for its own gross negligence. Here, the plaintiff’s claim alleged that the defendant raceway was grossly negligent, thus, although the waive included “all negligent” actions, the court read the waiver as not applying to grossly negligent acts. Thus, the waiver did not preclude the plaintiff from filing her case.
From there, the court went on to briefly discuss the plaintiff’s evidence, finding it sufficient to survive the defendant’s summary judgment challenge. The plaintiff’s case will now proceed to trial or settlement negotiations.
Have You Been Injured in a Florida Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Florida car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries you have sustained. The dedicated South Florida injury attorneys at Friedman Rodman & Frank have extensive experience handling Florida car accident cases and are prepared for whatever defenses may arise, including those involving liability release waivers. To learn more, call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation today. There is no risk in calling, because we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve for the injuries you have sustained.
More Blog Posts:
Florida Court Explains the Limits on Circumstantial Evidence in Recent Car Accident Lawsuit, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published December 27, 2018.
Maintenance Company May Be Liable for Restaurant Employee’s Injuries Following Slip-and-Fall Accident, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published December 13, 2018.