Is it legal to have a patron sign a disclaimer stating a shop is not responsible for the consumer’s misuse of equipment?

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Is it legal to have a patron sign a disclaimer stating a shop is not responsible for the consumer’s misuse of equipment?

I am thinking of opening a do-it yourself garage and was wondering if it was legal to have a patron stating the shop was not liable if they injured themselves do to misuse of equipment unless the problem was caused by improperly servicing of equipment or will a few signs posted in the shop suffice instead?

Asked on July 31, 2011 Georgia

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Here is the problem. These signs are trying to state that what the person is doing is under the theory of assumption of risk, which would typically serve as a complete affirmative defense to any negligent act, non act or mis-act on your part (individually or as the shop owner or the shop itself). Under products liability theories, wherein let's say someone gets injured using a product you sold or possibly made available in the stream of commerce, then you cannot disclaim that away. In other words, someone simply signing a disclaimer will not preclude liability. Consider discussing these ideas with your lawyer and seeing if similar style arrangements (like do it yourself carwashes) entail any dangers and if the patrons have to sign anything to use them.


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