Will a COVID-19 Liability Waiver Hold Up in Court?
More and more businesses that are reopening are posting coronavirus disclaimers or requiring employees and customers to sign waivers, but there are questions about whether those waivers will actually protect businesses from liability. Will a jury really think that liability waiver is enforceable?
While owners may think they are reducing the risk of a liability lawsuit by getting customers to sign a “contractual assumption of risk,” courts look at negligence liability waivers with a skeptical eye. While it may deter lawsuits and claims, business owners are also putting themselves in a position to alienate or scare customers. So, is it worth it?
There is some benefit to having customers sign a waiver and require they wear a mask inside the establishment. It is a way for businesses to acknowledge that they are doing what they can to protect their customers. Furthermore, if an individual were to sue, they would have to be able to prove that they contracted the virus in that space, which would prove very difficult outside of a cruise ship or nursing home.
As of right now, we really don’t know whether these liability waivers are going to hold up in court. Florida does enforce liability waivers, but both business owners and their customers need to understand the risks they may encounter because of reopening too soon.