What to do about a release of liability form?
Question Details: The owners of private residential property want me to sign release of liability on my 16 year old daughter who is working on their property. She is working in a barn there with a horse, cleaning stalls, stacking hay, etc. My concern is that if she's injured by their negligence, such as barn collapses from ice/snow or she slips on ice at their property and is injured, they will be released from liability? Should I sign?
While you need to reference the exact wording or terms of the form they want you to sign, generally, a liability waiver will release them from the ordinary risks of the activity, but not from their "gross" or exceptional negligence, or from dangerous conditions which they were aware of and failed to correct. People cannot protect themselves from their obligation to correct known issues/risks/problems, or use at least some basic level of care. Examples:
1) Working around horses has a chance of being bitten or kicked by a horse; that is a common or normal risk of being with horses. So the waiver would protect them.
2) Working outside has the normal risk of slipping in rain, snow, or ice; the waiver would protect them.
3) However, if they have her work with a horse who is known to be viscious or aggressive, that is both a known risk they should address and grossly negligent: the waiver would not protect them.
4) If their barn is rotten or weak, or they allow ice and snow to build up to unsave levels on it, and it collapses, that is again either a known risk they should have addressed and/or grossly negligent. They would be liable.