It seems these days that before you do anything, whether it’s renting a car or taking a cruise, you have to sign a mountain of paperwork signing away rights that you may not have even known you had. In Gillette v. All Pro Sports, Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeals explains that these and other types of waiver agreements must be sufficiently clear in order to be enforceable.
Ms. Gillette was injured in a go-kart accident at a facility in Orange City owned and operated by All Pro Sports. She sued the company for negligence, alleging that an All Pro employee increased the speed of the go-kart while she was using it. This, according to Gillette, caused her to lose control of the vehicle and crash.
A trial court granted the company’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, finding that Gillette waived her claims by signing a “waiver and release” form prior to using the go-kart. Among other provisions, the document stated that Gillette understood that the go-kart course contained curves that “require a degree of skill and responsibility to navigate safely” and that she had the necessary skill to operate the go-kart safely. She also acknowledged that she “could be potentially injured, disabled, or killed, whether by my own actions (or inactions) or the actions or inactions of another driver” and that she “freely and knowingly” assumed this risk. The form further stated that Gillette was agreeing to take “full responsibility for any claims or personal injury, death, or damage to personal property” related to her use of the go-kart.
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