Jack o lantern on a doorstep

Waivers Aren’t As Spooky As They Seem

By Pasha Vaziri
Attorney At Law

With Halloween having just passed, the self-proclaimed scariest haunted house in America requires visitors to sign a 40-page waiver before entering. The extensive document is likely a marketing gimmick, but haunted attractions across the country have been inspired to copy this tactic and require anyone who wants to get spooked to sign a waiver. 

No matter how terrifying the ghosts and goblins at a particular haunted attraction may be, the thing that is most frightening to Vaziri Law LLC is that some Chicagoans may believe a waiver they signed actually prevents them from filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Many Waivers Are Ineffective 

Liability waivers typically ask visitors to acknowledge the inherent danger of whatever activity they are about to engage in and waive their right to sue should they get hurt on the premises. They are designed to frighten the people who sign them from pursuing a claim or filing a lawsuit, but the protection they provide the business owners who draft them is often limited. 

Under Illinois law, businesses that require visitors to sign waivers may still be held legally responsible if they were acting negligently or recklessly, or if the waiver was invalid. 

Whether a particular waiver does more than discourage the people who sign from speaking to a lawyer depends on several different factors:

  • The circumstances surrounding the injury;
  • The behavior of the business; 
  • The language included in the waiver; and 
  • The way the waiver was presented. 

Generally speaking, you cannot waive your right to be protected from reckless behavior or unexpectedly dangerous conditions that invite injury. But you cannot seek compensation for harm you caused yourself. 

The only way to know if you will be allowed to bring a lawsuit in your specific situation is to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. 

What to Do if You Were Injured After Signing a Waiver

If you were injured at a business that required you to sign a waiver, you should not assume that you are prevented from filing a lawsuit. 

  • Consult with an attorney like Vaziri Law LLC. 
  • Locate a copy of the waiver you signed and any details you can find about the place you were injured — like the name of the business, the owner’s name, and basic contact info. 
  • Write down or video record everything you can remember about the circumstances surrounding your injury. Who else was there? What day was it? What time of day did your injury occur? What do you remember about what happened?
  • Keep track of all of your medical records, medical bills, and any other expenses you have incurred as a result of your injury. This can include money you lost because you were unable to work. 

The more of this information you have the better, but the team at Vaziri Law LLC is also happy to help you compile this information while you focus on recovering from your injury. 

Fueled by Passion. Built on Trust. 

Don’t let a liability waiver scare you away from speaking to an attorney if you are injured in the Chicago area. These waivers are not always enforceable. Vaziri Law LLC is ready to listen to your story, to review the waiver you signed, and to determine whether you may be entitled to compensation to recover from your injury. Please contact us today to discuss your potential case.

About the Author
Attorney Pasha Vaziri received his Juris Doctor from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago and focuses on personal injury and insurance law cases for clients in the Chicago area. Pasha founded Vaziri Law LLC in 2014 with a focus on the following practice areas: business litigation, class and collective actions, employment litigation, and injury litigation. As an attorney, he strives to achieve your objectives as efficiently as possible. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Mr. Vaziri through our contact page.