Issues With Hold Harmless Agreements In Amusement Park Injuries
You likely already know that if you are injured in an amusement park, that the park can be liable for the injuries that the park causes to you. Often the injuries are the same as they would be in or on any typical property such as a dangerous condition being on the ground that leads to a fall, and other times the liability relates to something specific to the amusement park, such as a defect in a ride or an attraction inside the park itself.
The Use of Hold Harmless Agreements
In order to shield itself from liability, many amusement parks will use hold harmless agreements, exculpatory agreements, or liability waivers. These are documents that you sign before entering the property, where you agree that if the property injures you because of the amusement park’s negligence, that you cannot sue the amusement park for damages.
Liability waivers are contracts, enforceable like any other contract, and as such, a party can legally sign away their right to sue an amusement park. But there are some exceptions in the law that could allow you to sue for an injury that happens at an amusement park, even if you signed one of these agreements, and especially when it comes to injuries that happen to minors.
Enforceability Against Minors
Many properties will give hold harmless agreements to absolutely anyone who enters their property—including teenagers and those under the age of 18. Any liability waiver signed by a minor, is invalid, and cannot be enforced against the minor.
Many properties will require that a parent or guardian sign the liability waiver. But these are invalid also; a parent cannot legally sign away the rights of a minor child to sue for damages.
Always seeking an end-around, many amusement parks have gotten smarter, and have resorted to indemnity agreements. These work like this: The amusement park says that if they do have to pay anything towards damages to a child injured at and by the amusement park, that the parent agrees that it will owe the amusement park whatever it paid for the child’s injuries.
That’s right: the parks make parents agree that they will reimburse the amusement park for anything the park has to pay as damages, for injuring the parents own child.
Alas, these also have been held to be invalid in Tennessee, as they basically place a parent in an adversarial position to the child, something public policy greatly disfavors.
However, an amusement park can make a parent waive any medical bills that are billed to the parent, as a result of treatment rendered to the child. Of course, for a minor, the parent will always be the one billed for medical expenses the child incurs. This can sometimes create a problem, but there are ways around this as well.
Call the Clinton amusement park lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, today for help if you have been injured in an amusement park.