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Is a Waiver of Liability Enforceable in Indiana if You Are Injured?


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Accidents happen, and when they result in injuries, individuals often question the enforceability of waivers of liability in Indiana. Waivers of liability are legal contracts that seek to limit or eliminate the liability of one party in the event of an injury or damage.

When you sign a waiver, you relinquish your legal right to recover compensation if injured. While this might not seem fair, Indiana courts have consistently upheld the enforceability of such agreements. This does not mean you are without legal options if you are injured. A waiver might not be enforceable if it does not meet very specific criteria. We can help you fight an unfair or illegal waiver so you can preserve your legal rights.

For a free review of your case with our Indiana personal injury lawyers, call Wruck Paupore today at (219) 322-1166.

Is a Waiver of Liability Enforceable if I Am Injured in Indiana?

Waivers of liability are legal documents that are crucial in protecting individuals, organizations, or businesses from being held accountable for injuries or damages that might arise during specific activities or services. These waivers require the signatory to relinquish their right to sue or otherwise hold the other party liable in the event of any harm or loss.

By signing a waiver, individuals acknowledge the inherent risks involved and agree not to hold the other party liable. This serves to manage and allocate risk, potentially reducing lawsuits and legal disputes that could otherwise arise.

In Indiana, pre-injury waivers and releases, also known as “exculpatory agreements,” are generally recognized by courts as legally binding and enforceable if certain criteria are met. The agreements can release a party from liability if it meets the criteria described below. As such, it is important to have your waiver reviewed by our Indianapolis personal injury attorney to determine its validity. The courts will also examine the nature of the activity or service, the relationship between the parties, and the bargaining power of both sides when determining the validity of a waiver.

Factors that Make a Waiver of Liability Enforceable in Indiana

In Indiana, for a waiver of liability to be legally binding and enforceable, it must include several factors. These factors include the specific language used in the waiver, the circumstances surrounding the signing of the waiver, the nature and extent of the risks involved, and the public policy considerations implicated by the waiver. If your waiver of liability fails to meet one of the standards below, it might not be binding in Indiana:

Clear and Unambiguous Language

When drafting a waiver, the language must be clear and understandable. The waiver should leave no room for ambiguity or misunderstanding. It should explicitly state the intention to release the other party from any liability for injuries or damages that might occur.

It is also important to include specific details about the risks involved and the activities or events covered by the waiver. Additionally, the waiver should be written in a way that is fair and reasonable to both parties.

Knowledge and Voluntary Assent

Before signing a waiver, the individual must do so with full knowledge of the implications and risks involved. Individuals should be fully aware of their rights and the legal consequences of signing the waiver. Any form of coercion or deceptive practices that lead to the signing of the waiver can render it unenforceable in court. Therefore, the individual signing the waiver must do so knowingly and voluntarily, without undue influence or pressure.

Be aware, though, that courts have generally not accepted failing to read the waiver as a valid defense to its enforcement.

Adequate Consideration is Given

When an individual is asked to sign a waiver, they must receive something of value in exchange, known as “consideration.” This consideration can take many forms, such as the opportunity to participate in an activity, receive goods or services, or other benefits.

You should fully understand what you receive in exchange for signing the waiver and that the consideration is fair and reasonable. Without proper consideration, the waiver might not be legally binding.

The Waiver is Not Against Public Policy

Waivers cannot violate public policy or involve essential services. Essential services refer to activities or services deemed of public interest, such as medical care, and cannot be protected by waivers.

If you seek medical treatment, you cannot sign a waiver that would release the medical provider from liability in case of medical malpractice. In general, waivers of liability must be reasonable and not overly broad in scope. Otherwise, they might be deemed unenforceable in a court of law.

The Waiver Must Be Limited in Scope

When drafting a waiver, it must be narrowly tailored to the specific activity, service, or situation to which it applies. The waiver should not attempt to release the other party from liability for unrelated or unforeseen events, such as injuries or damages that might occur outside the scope of the activity covered by the waiver.

This means that the waiver should be clear and specific about what it covers and what it does not to avoid any confusion or misinterpretation. In general, a well-crafted waiver should protect the interests of both parties while minimizing the risk of disputes or legal challenges in the future.

Are There Exceptions to a Waiver’s Enforceability in Indiana?

While waivers of liability are generally enforceable in Indiana, there are some exceptions:

Gross Negligence and Intentional Misconduct

A waiver of liability will not shield a party from liability in cases of gross negligence or intentional misconduct. These types of actions are considered to be outside the scope of what is typically covered by a waiver. In other words, if a party engages in grossly negligent or intentionally harmful behavior, they can still be held liable for any resulting damages or injuries, even if a waiver of liability was signed.

Public Policy Considerations

As mentioned, in certain situations involving public interests or essential services, waivers of liability might not be upheld. These exceptions are determined on a case-by-case basis, considering factors such as the nature of the activity or service and its impact on public safety.


Unconscionability refers to a legal doctrine that allows courts to refuse to enforce a contract or certain terms within a contract if they are found to be unfair, oppressive, or unconscionable. In the context of waivers of liability, a court might find a waiver unconscionable if it is excessively one-sided, contains unreasonably favorable terms to one party, or involves unfair bargaining power.

Our Indiana Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help

If you have been injured but believe that you may have waived your rights to recover against the negligent party, it is critical to speak with an attorney. You should never assume that your rights have been waived, as we have been successful in many cases arguing that a liability waiver is either unenforceable or not applicable to our client’s injuries.

Contact Wruck Paupore at (219) 322-1166 for a free case assessment with our Evansville, IN personal injury attorneys.

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Your Legal Team

Your Legal Team

Top-Rated Litigator.
Helping injury victims move forward.

Don is a founding partner and one of the nation’s top-ranked personal injury litigators. He is a member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, which includes less than 1% of the nation’s trial lawyers, and awarded the highest ranking given by Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.

More importantly, Don understands representing personal injury victims is about more than recovering the best settlement: it’s about helping clients get back on their feet and supporting them in every aspect of their recovery.

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Understanding the Insurance Company:
Getting Results.

In nearly all cases, our clients seek compensation from the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Before forming Wruck Paupore, Jason worked for a prominent law firm representing some of the world’s largest insurers. This experience gives Jason a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the strategies it uses to pay injury victims as little as possible.

Jason -- and our entire team -- put this inside knowledge to work to force insurance companies to pay what is actually owed. Often, we use the insurance company’s own tactics against them as we fight for the full compensation our client deserves.

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More than 40 Years of Experience.
Still Fighting for Justice.

For more than four decades, Keith has been fighting for injury victims. During that time, he’s watched the insurance industry change, with insurers now more interested in protecting their stock price than treating injury victims fairly.

Since the beginning, Keith has put people first. From his childhood in Gary, Indiana during the 1960’s and working his way through law school, Keith has risen to become one of the Midwest’s most respected trial lawyers. He has never forgotten that being a lawyer is about helping people -- and seeing injury victims through struggles in a way that could change their lives forever.

Over the decades, Keith, Don and Jason have fought relentlessly for clients, even when other lawyers have said the case was impossible to win.

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