Covid Liability Release Forms And Your Legal Rights
Fear has gripped this nation. Well, fear of lawsuits that is. The Coronavirus known as Covid-19 has created so much panic that businesses, hospitals, event venues, amusement parks and local services are incorporating liability release forms into their customer intake procedures.
Customers need to read then acknowledge that they understand the release by signing the forms before they can partake in whatever activity or service they are receiving.
I acknowledge the contagious nature of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 and that the CDC and many other public health authorities still recommend practicing social distancing.
I further acknowledge that [some business name] has put in place preventative measures to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19.
I further acknowledge that [some business name] cannot guarantee that I will not become infected with the Coronavirus/Covid-19.
I understand that the risk of becoming exposed to and/or infected by the Coronavirus/COVID-19 may result from the actions, omissions, or negligence of myself and others, including, but not limited to, [some business name] staff, and other [some business name] clients and their families.
I voluntarily seek services provided by [some business name] and acknowledge that I am increasing my risk to exposure to the Coronavirus/COVID-19.
I acknowledge that I must comply with all set procedures to reduce the spread of the virus while on [some business name] property.
I attest that:
* I am not experiencing any symptom of illness such as cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.
* I have not traveled internationally within the last 14 days.
* I have not traveled to a highly impacted area within the United States of America in the last 14 days.
* I do not believe I have been exposed to someone with a suspected and/or confirmed case of the Coronavirus/COVID-19.
* I have not been diagnosed with Coronavirus/Covid-19 and not yet cleared as non-contagious by state or local public health authorities.
* I am following all CDC recommended guidelines as much as possible and limiting my exposure to the Coronavirus/COVID-19.
I hereby release and agree to hold [some business name] harmless from, and waive on behalf of myself, my heirs, and any personal representatives any and all causes of action, claims, demands, damages, costs, expenses and compensation for damage or loss to myself and/or property that may be caused by any act, or failure to act of [some business name] , or that may otherwise arise in any way in connection with any services received from [some business name].
I understand that this release discharges [some business name] from any liability or claim that I, my heirs, or any personal representatives may have against the this company with respect to any bodily injury, illness, death, medical treatment, or property damage that may arise from, or in connection to, any services received from [some business name].
This liability waiver and release extends to [your business name] together with all owners, partners, and employees.
Some businesses even require the customer to adhere to other rules or restrictions, such as…
- All customers must wear a mask or face covering during the duration of the service or such service will be denied.
- A maximum of (x amount) of customers will be allowed at a time.
- Each customer is required to wash their hands before service.
And some businesses have created additional rules for their employees to follow…
- All employees will wash hands thoroughly at the beginning of all shifts, during breaks and at the end of each shift.
- All employees will use hand sanitizer after each interaction with a customer, regardless if contact with the customer was made.
- All employees are required to use masks or approved face coverings.
- All equipment used during interaction with a customer should be cleaned, sanitized and disinfected.
- All surfaces will be thoroughly cleaned with hospital grade disinfectant before and after each customer, according to the manufacturer’s directions.
But are the extra restrictions necessary? If a business is requiring the customer to sign a release prior to service, do the extra restrictions really mean much? Or are the extra restrictions there to protect the employee?
Well, businesses are devising their own liability release forms for employees, contractors, and even shareholders limiting the companies responsibility in the event of a Covid outbreak. Unfortunately, employees who refuse to sign could be forfeiting their jobs. Contractors who refuse could see their relationship with a business cease to exist.
So we are back to fear. Fear of being sued.
The problem that arises now…is that that fear will be used again and again for all kinds of situations that could get a business sued. “There are inherent risks using our service, sign here to not sue us if you get injured or killed”.
And most people will comply and sign the release.
But does that signing of the release actually preclude you from suing or is it just a scare tactic?
To create an enforceable waiver, the potential defendant must ensure that the plaintiff was capable of contracting out his or her own legal rights. If the plaintiff was vulnerable, ignorant or under distress when presented with the waiver or if the defendant exercised pressure on the plaintiff or unfairly took advantage of social or economic pressures on him or her to get him or her to participate the release form could be declared null and void.
Employees will always feel a sense of pressure to sign if their job is on the line. Customers may feel vulnerable as they need whatever service they are committing to be done right away.
A waiver can significantly limit the right to sue, but it’s not always enforceable. The courts can use a series of factors to test the enforceability of a waiver. The factors include; the circumstances in which the waiver was signed, the person who signed the waiver and, the event the waiver was attempting to exclude.
Over the last few months we have authored many articles regarding the Coronavirus as a means to educate our clients of the legalities surrounding this pandemic… they include:
The Law Offices of David W. Holub is a personal injury law firm located in Merrillville, Indiana, focused on providing efficient and effective client-centered representation. Our mission is to provide top quality legal representation, which includes an uncompromising pursuit of our client’s legal interests, while being accessible and attentive to our clients during times of personal challenge.
The firm concentrates in personal injury cases of all types, medical malpractice, and wrongful death litigation. We work tirelessly to serve each client aggressively and with empathy, to communicate regularly and clearly, and to obtain prompt and favorable results, while adhering to the highest standards of excellence and integrity. Our team considers it a high honor to be called upon to serve our clients whom we often come to regard as our friends.
To speak to our friendly attorneys, to share your story and to see if your claim has merit, call (219)736-9700 today.
*If you would like to learn more about personal injury law, we encourage you to listen to our Personal Injury Primer Podcast where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law. And read “Fighting For Truth: A Trial Lawyer’s Insight Into What It Takes To Win” an entertaining and enlightening book pulling readers into the courtroom giving them a glimpse of the legal process and what it takes to win at trial.