5 Times a Resort or Spa Waiver Successfully Blocked a Lawsuit

Women receiving a treatment at a spa after signing a spa waiver of liability

Make no mistake – if you run a resort or spa, you need your clients to sign a release form. These resort and spa waiver forms are legal documents in which the signer waives their right to sue for various incidents or injuries that can arise on your premises.

In our litigious society, you can expect legal action if someone is injured during an activity in your business or as a result of a procedure and did not sign a liability waiver. 

Think this is an exaggeration? Think again!

Spas and resorts are getting sued all the time. Even if the lawsuit is not successful, the legal costs and damage to your reputation can sink your business. On the other hand, a properly written resort or spa liability waiver form can prevent many lawsuits from ever truly taking off.

Here are five examples where a resort or spa was sued but the waiver blocked the lawsuit.

1. Case of the Collapsing Massage Chair (Taylor v. Atrium Med. Ctr.)

This case illustrates the need to ensure your equipment is well maintained, but also illustrates how a release of liability waiver can protect your business even in the event of equipment failure. 

A woman named Vicki attended an employee appreciation event which included massages provided by The Atrium Medical Center. Sadly what was meant to be a kind gesture resulted in a very bad time when the massage chair she sat in collapsed, causing her grievous injury. 

The client intake form she signed, however, included a clause in which Vicki waived liability for any injury. While in some states this incident may have been ruled as grossly negligent, and thus the waiver would no longer be applicable, the court in Ohio ruled for Atrium Medical Center. 

2. Cruise Ship Excursion Condundrum (Henderson v. Carnival)

Cruise ships are the resort of the sea, and while cruising is touted as one of the safest forms of travel, that doesn’t mean accidents don’t happen. Consider this lawsuit which was dismissed via summary judgment because of a waiver signed by the injured party!

A couple that was on their honeymoon went on a boating excursion with a third-party vendor. On their way back to the ship, their catamaran struck a coral reef and they were injured. Carnival rightly stated that those responsible for the injury did not work directly for them, but the Plaintiffs argued that as a common carrier, Defendant may not limit its duty to safely transport passengers to and from shore.

The excursion ticket contract, however, waived Carnival against any liability for injury related to the excursion, and the case was thrown out.

3. Ski Resort Jump Liability (Apps v Grouse Mountain Resorts Ltd.) 

Skiing can be a lot of fun but is obviously a risky activity. While all skiers should understand the inherent risks of the activity itself, that doesn’t mean that a ski resort is exempt from liability for improper signage or maintenance of its facilities.

A British Columbia ski resort was taken to court by a skier who went on a terrain run and horribly injured himself on a jump. He did not recall reading a waiver. However, he had signed a waiver and the waiver was also printed on the ticket. There were also several signs (which he did not recall reading) prior to the ski lift indicating that it was a dangerous run in which freestyle skills were required. Since the skier had signed and waiver and had ample chances to see the warnings and opt out of that run, the case was dismissed.

4. Zipline Accident in The Bush (Loychuk v. Cougar Mountain Adventures Ltd.)

Ziplining is a fun activity, but there is the potential for danger, and thus all participants must sign a waiver. A couple who did a zip-lining activity in British Columbia, unfortunately, ran afoul of a worst-case scenario when they collided on the line during a zip-lining activity and became injured.

Despite the fact that Cougar Mountain Adventures Ltd. did admit there was ordinary negligence on the part of the zipline staff, the judge ruled that the waiver was valid as the couple would have understood there was inherent risk involved and waived the right to sue. This is why all liability waivers contain an assumption of risk clause.

5. Bahamas Resort Retort (Feggestad v. Kerzner International Bahamas, LTD, et al) 

Slips and falls happen all the time, but unfortunately, any resort owner knows that they can be liable when accidents occur on their property. 

This was the case when a gentleman slipped and fell on a wet sidewalk in the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas and suffered severe personal injuries. The couple claimed that they did not read the resort waiver they signed as part of their check-in and it was buried, but the judge ruled that the resort offered not one but two opportunities to do so, and ruled for the resort.

How WaiverForever Can Help You Protect Your Business

Waivers are an important part of your business, and serving them easily to clients and storing them should also be top of mind. After all, clipboards are so old school, and there’s no way you want to store huge piles of paper records for years.

Instead of doing waivers the old school way, try WaiverForever for free today. 

Our service allows you to stop worrying about your waivers, and turn your focus back to your business. Waivers are easy to carefully read and sign with a digital signature on any device, in a kiosk mode, or emailed to clients ahead of time. Once your waivers are signed, they’re stored securely for as long as you need them.

From resort activities to spa treatments, contact us today to learn more about how WaiverForever can help your business.