Missouri liability waivers: Will MO Supremes Alter Law?

Price & Randle

A case currently pending in the Missouri Supreme Court could change the application of liability waivers in the State of Missouri.  The case involves a nurse who signed up for a motorcycle training course.  She signed a liability waiver.  On the date of the training, the course was slick with water.  As a result, the nurse had an accident and sued for damages.  She alleged that the liability waiver was ineffective to protect the training company from liability based upon the facts and circumstances.

The legal analysis of this case brings up multiple factors for consideration.  There is a misconception among the general Missouri public that a liability waiver can absolve a company from all exposure to liability.  This is not our understanding of Missouri law.  There are many forms of liability exposure that cannot be avoided simply by a liability waiver.  The most glaring examples are accidents in which the company violates a law, statute or local ordinance.  A waiver does not release a company from complying with safety laws.  If the company violates the safety law, then it is our opinion that a waiver is ineffective at shielding the company from exposure that results from a violation of these safety rules.  A company cannot contract around law compliance.  However, we also recognize that this is a complex area of the law, and requires a detailed analysis of the underlying facts of each case.  There are multiple other situations in which a liability waiver may not be effective.

The case before the Missouri Supreme Court will hopefully shed some light on the extent to which liability waivers are effective in Missouri.  If you’ve been injured in an accident in which you signed a liability waiver, that waiver may not be binding on you.  At Price & Randle, we are happy to review your particular claim facts to determine whether you might have a case.  Please contact us for more information.

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