Are pre-injury waivers of liability valid in Virginia? By Josh Silverman on September 25, 2013

Many businesses require participants or their parents to sign a waiver of liability form.  In the fine print the forms state that the business it is not liable for negligence and a host of other bad things that could happen.  We've all seen these waivers and probably signed hundreds of similar ones. A few of us have actually read them. Fortunately they have very little legal impact in Virginia.

A number of years ago the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that pre-injury waivers and releases are invalid as against public policy.  The case involved someone who was participa ting in a triathalon.  He signed a waiver and due to the alleged negligence of the operators he sustained a catastrophic injury. He broke his neck and suffered paralysis.  The operators denied liability on the ground that he had signed a release before participating. 

The Supreme Court of Virginia disagreed.  The Court held that one of the purposes of tort law is to encourage responsible conduct.  If a business can escape liability for its negligence by requiring participants to sign a pre-injury release, then they lose the financial incentive to exercise caution and to take reasonable steps to prevent injuries. It was a good decision and it remains the law today in Virginia.

 

Related to This

Josh Silverman

Silverman Law Firm LC

At the Silverman Law Firm LC in Richmond, VA, attorney Josh Silverman and his team represent victims of personal injuries and medical malpractice. Josh Silverman has been recognized as a "Virginia Super Lawyer" every year since 2013 and was selected as a 2015 Top Rated Lawyer in Healthcare Law based on his AV Peer Review Rating in Martindale-Hubbell©.

We are available to provide individualized representation in a variety of practice areas, including:

To request a consultation at our firm, please fill out our online form or call (804) 325-4992.

How Can We Help? Today

"By opening the Silverman Law Firm, I am able to carefully select cases where I can provide clients my undivided, individualized attention." Joshua D. Silverman

Rate, Review & Explore

Social Accounts Sprite

Silverman Law Firm LC

3415 Floyd Ave
Richmond, VA 23221

Open Today 9:00am - 5:00pm

What is the best time for you?

Add additional time

Tell us a bit about yourself...

(804) 325-4992 Send a message