FLORIDA APPELLATE COURT ALLOWS FOR WAIVER AT TRAMPOLINE PARK SIGNED BY 13 YEAR OLD TO BAR FAMILY FROM FILING SUIT FOR NEGLIGENCE OF PARK
Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals recently held that a 13 year old customer of a trampoline park that fraudulently signed his parent’s name on a waiver at the park was prohibited from arguing that the document was void based upon his status as a minor. The Court held that since the 13 year old was acting fraudulently his family could not take advantage of his “infancy” to get out of the waiver form.
WAIVERS OF LIABILITY
As most parents understand, when you allow your kids to participate in activities like those at trampoline parks or water parks, you are routinely asked to review and sign waiver of liability forms. Many of these businesses, like the trampoline park in this case, have ways to review these waiver forms on your phone or via a kiosk at the business. These waivers usually severely limit the liability of the business even if the company or its employees are negligent. As you can imagine, serious injuries can occur at these activity parks and many of them are caused by the negligence of the park. However, these waiver agreements are commonly upheld by Florida courts and either limit recovery, waive your right to the court system, or both.
In the last few years, emergency room visits caused by trampoline park injuries has skyrocketed. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the numbers have shot up from 2,500 in 2013 to almost 18,000 in 2017.
FRAUDULENT ACTIONS AND CONSEQUENCES FOR MINOR CHILD
In the case recently decided by the Fourth District Court of Appeals, the child’s family was arguing that their 13 year old son did not have their permission to go to the park and that the park should be paying more attention and realize when a minor fills out a form with a parent signature that is not with him. The appellate court disagreed and held that since the 13 year old planned this visit out and used a real driver’s license number for a family member, he was acting fraudulently and it would be unfair to allow his family to take advantage of this fraudulent conduct.
The family argued that the park should have been more aware of minors using their parents information especially when making kiosks available. The court rejected this argument stating it is unreasonable to expect the business to watch these kiosks that closely. The takeaway from this case is clear, if the court has evidence that the minor planned out, in a fraudulent manner, to use an adult’s driver’s license and date of birth and does so, that can amount to fraud and if so, fraud dissipates the incapacity of a minor to sign an effective contract. Basically, the court concludes if they are old enough to commit fraud they are old enough to suffer the consequences of the contract they are signing. This is not a great case for public safety since the loser in this are kids that are not capable of understanding the true lifelong effects that their injuries at these parks could bring about.
If you or a loved one is serious injured at any activity park, water park, or any other business that requires the signing of a waiver and you have legal questions, please feel free to contact us at zarzaurlaw.com or 855HIREjoe.
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