In some great news for children who are unfortunately injured in Florida, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that parents are not authorized to sign a personal injury or accident release/waiver on behalf of their minor child. As Florida Lawyers, we commend the Court's ruling, which will allow children injured while participating in a commercial activity, such as at amusement parks, to seek compensation for damages caused by the negligence of the business operator.
The Florida Supreme Court said there is injustice when a parent agrees to waive the personal injury claims of a minor child, depriving the child of the right to damages when they are injured as a result of another party’s negligence. The Court reasoned that when a parent executes such a release and a child is injured, the operator of the activity escapes liability while the parent, and on many occasions, the State, is left to deal with the financial burden of an injured child. Therefore, when a parent signs a pre-personal injury or accident release on behalf of their minor child, the parent is not protecting the welfare of the child, but is instead protecting the interests of the activity provider.
We can only hope that this ruling will finally force operators of businesses which cater to minors to take the necessary precautions to protect their young patrons.