A recent decision of the Minnesota Court of Appeals illustrates the importance and effect of a parent’s agreement to a liability waiver for their child. In Justice v. Marvel, LLC, the Court found that a parent is authorized to sign a liability waiver on behalf of a minor child, and that a liability waiver signed by a parent is binding on the child even after the child becomes an adult. The Court also determined that a waiver could be effective against claims based on participation in certain recreational activities, although they may not be effective against claims based on essential or required activities. Further, the Court concluded that language that attempted to waive liability based on claims of intentional acts or greater-than-ordinary negligence is unenforceable.
This recent decision demonstrates that, if appropriately drafted, waivers can be an effective tool in protecting from liability. Waivers should be explicitly signed by parents on behalf of themselves and their children before a child participates in any kind of risky or atypical activities. Waivers could also be included on permission slips and other parental approvals for optional, recreational, or non-essential activities. Including valid and enforceable waivers of liability in these ways can protect your entity from future claims for injuries or other damages.
If you have questions regarding liability waivers or have a liability waiver you would like to have drafted or reviewed, the lawyers of Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney are happy and prepared to discuss your inquiry and apply our knowledge and experience to your specific situation. We can be reached at (612) 339-0060.