Liability waivers have become a commonplace occurrence in several regions of the country. Wisconsin Public Radio has noted that several businesses now require liability waivers to be signed before clients enter the premises. Liability waivers have been around for a while, but their use in mitigating against lawsuits stemming from COVID 19 infection is relatively new. The massive number of COVID-19 infections haven’t been slowed by lockdowns as much as public health systems would have hoped. NPR reports that there have been more than 135,000 deaths due to the virus so far, with infection numbers over 3.5 million. The reopening of gyms and dentists in many states might be a bad call by legislators. Businesses of these types have to seek to protect themselves from liability just for operating within their regular scope. As unfair as this seems, the fact that even those precautions may not be valid legally is even more unfair.
The Threat of Infection is All Over
Since its rise to prominence late last year, medical science has learned a lot about how the coronavirus spreads. WebMD states that the virus can remain active on surfaces touched by infected persons for up to five days in some cases . Some infected people don’t even display symptoms, making it even more challenging to detect whether they pose a threat or not. For businesses like gyms and dentists, where bodily fluids are part of their business, a liability waiver seems like the most effective way to deal with the threat of infection.
The Legality of These Waivers
Some businesses are already looking for a personal injury attorney that can plead their case in court if their liability waivers are called into question. Because of a lack of precedence for the situation, many businesses aren’t sure how valid the signed waivers are. Still, having them provides some sort of deterrence and serves as a warning to clients before they enter the business’s premises. The enforceability of liability waivers varies by state, and whether it’s valid in your locale depends on whether there’s a precedent for them being enforced there.
A New Normal to Deal With
In states where waivers are generally unenforceable, a precedent will be established once the first case goes to court. As these professions require extensive interaction with others, dentists of gyms may likely be at the front lines of this legal battle. Whether they’re successful in making these liability waivers enforceable in their state remains to be seen.