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Can You Still Make a Claim After Signing a Liability Release Waiver?

Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a Florida personal injury case involving an accident that occurred on the Daytona International Speedway. The case required the court to determine whether the plaintiff was prevented from pursuing a claim against the Speedway based on a release of liability waiver she had signed before the accident. Ultimately, the court concluded that although the waiver was valid and enforceable, it did not cover the specific claim made by the plaintiff.

The Facts of the Case

The court’s recitation of the facts was brief; however, it appeared from the court’s discussion of the facts that the plaintiff was a pit-crew member for one of the racers. Before the plaintiff was allowed onto the racetrack, the Speedway asked that she sign a document that was a release and waiver of liability. By signing the document, the plaintiff agreed that she was aware of the risks involved with standing on the racetrack, and that she agreed not to sue the Speedway if she was injured. The document explicitly stated that it applied to “all acts of negligence.”

According to the court’s opinion, one day the plaintiff was standing in a restricted access area when she was run over by a tow truck that was backing up into the area. Evidently, the tow truck driver was being directed into the area by two employees of the Speedway.

The plaintiff filed a Florida personal injury lawsuit against the Speedway, arguing that it was grossly negligent and that its gross negligence resulted in her injuries. In response, the Speedway argued that the plaintiff’s lawsuit was precluded by the fact that she had already agreed not to pursue a case against the Speedway in the release and waiver of liability document. The Speedway argued that the plaintiff’s claim of gross negligence was covered by the agreement, which included “all acts of negligence.”

The court disagreed with the Speedway’s argument concerning the scope of the waiver. The court explained that previously decided cases have indicated that in the context of closed-course motorsports activities, “the Legislature has explicitly excluded gross negligence from the definition of negligence for injuries occurring in the nonspectator areas of the facility.” Thus, although the waiver purported to cover “all acts of negligence,” the court read the waiver to exclude acts of gross negligence. Because the plaintiff’s claim alleged that the Speedway acted with gross negligence, the waiver did not apply.

Have You Been Injured in a Florida Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Florida car accident, or any other type of accident involving the negligence of another person, business, or government entity, contact the dedicated South Florida injury attorneys at Cecere Santana. At Cecere Santana, we represent Florida injury victims in cases across the state in all types of Florida personal injury cases. To learn more, call 800-753-5529 to schedule a free consultation today.

See Additional Blog Posts:

The Florida Rules of Evidence Play a Major Role in All Personal Injury Accidents, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, January 17, 2019.

The Importance of Naming All Potentially Liable Parties in a Florida Car Accident Case, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, published January 23, 2019

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