View Full Version : Waiver Garbage

December 1st, 2003, 09:55 AM
Does this language bother anyone? I hate when people file suit for their own stupidity, but should we be forced to waive our rights for someone elses stupidity or neglect as stated below?
This language is cut from the 2004 registration form. It can also be found on all meet entries.


December 1st, 2003, 11:15 AM
it bothers me that we have to have such a waiver. However, if a waiver is not included in the entry form, we may have difficulty obtaining facilities for meets.

December 1st, 2003, 11:54 AM
In general (I don't know about USMS) when you see clauses you don't agree with, you can cross them out and initial them. Sometimes this is accepted by the organization you are dealing with, and other times you will be asked to redo the form and waive everything.

December 1st, 2003, 01:50 PM
No, It doesn't bother me, because I believe that the organization is not set out to create damages or take advantage of people.

I do believe that for it to operate well, they do need some level of protection form damage claims that may arise from making an unintentional mistake.

And I do believe that we participate at out own risk, and should be conisant of the fact that (being tyhat it's being run by people) the organization is not perfect, and there will be ocasional mistakes. Some that may even affect me to an extent.

Knowing that going in, I have no problem signing a waiver. I just know that there is taht risk when I participate. In my case, I believe that the risk of any significant damages is close to nil.
If something bad happens (Can't imagine what it would be) well, that's just a tough statistic. I don't have the expectation of the big brother protecting me from my or other people's mistakes. If I did, I'd never get in a car and drive around on daily basis. (Or even get in a car to drive to swim practice every morning - in spite of car insurance.)

If someone is bothered by the risk associated with participation, they need to make a decision whether that is an acceptable risk to them, and participate... or not.

I can't say that I know a lot of detail about the USMS, but I have a sneaky suspicion that having the obligation to protect people from risks, and to allow all kinds of damage claims would not make it not feasible for the organization (USMS and LMSC's... to exist).

Okay, allright, I'm off the soapbox...
I'm off To McDonalds to get some hot coffe. ;)

December 1st, 2003, 02:56 PM
It looks like you are waiving your rights away in the case of "negligence." But there's a difference between "negligence" and "gross negligence". If you aren't doing something stupid and you still get hurt because someone else is grossly negligent, you should still be able to sue. But the line between negligence and gross negligence is subjective, and it's up to a judge and jury to decide.

December 1st, 2003, 03:05 PM
here's a definition of gross negligence from this link:


gross negligence
n. carelessness which is in reckless disregard for the safety or lives of others, and is so great it appears to be a conscious violation of other people's rights to safety. It is more than simple inadvertence, but it is just shy of being intentionally evil. If one has borrowed or contracted to take care of another's property, then gross negligence is the failure to actively take the care one would of his/her own property. If gross negligence is found by the trier of fact (judge or jury), it can result in the award of punitive damages on top of general and special damages.

December 1st, 2003, 04:10 PM
Thanks for the responses, and I expected this to rock-the-boat a little.
Understand that I'm not trying to derail USMS or the LSC's. It just pains me every time I sign on an agreement that sounds like someone else gets obsolved of all wrongdoing regardless of their actions. I take responsibility for my own actions and I expect the same of others. I just sent in my 2004 form and it felt like the right time to raise the point.

December 1st, 2003, 05:09 PM
Does anyone know when the registration forms were mailed? I haven't received one.


December 1st, 2003, 05:53 PM
Originally posted by ratthedog
It just pains me every time I sign on an agreement that sounds like someone else gets obsolved of all wrongdoing regardless of their actions. I take responsibility for my own actions and I expect the same of others.

I've talked to someone I know, that know as bit more about the 'legalese' than your average Joe, and he assures me that this agreement does not absolve the organization of ALL wrong doing.
Just from claims arising from minor accidents.

Or, to paraphrase my friend...
"If an official drops a bucket of ice on my toe (and laves a bruise), that's negligence (or could be an accident). If an official gets drunk, and then drops a bucket of ice on my toe and breaks it, that could be "Gross Negligence"

If you look at that link that Xswimmer posted, and read up the definition of 'negligence' you will see:

Negligence: failure to exercise the care toward others which a reasonable or prudent person would do in the circumstances, or taking action which such a reasonable person would not. Negligence is accidental as distinguished from "intentional torts" (assault or trespass, for example) or from crimes, but a crime can also constitute negligence, such as reckless driving. [and the definition goes on for a while]

It appears that in legal world "negligence" barely covers little more than accidents, VS. where in conversational English meaning of "negligence" seems to carry much more serious connotations. More than just an Ooops.
I'm more under the impression that what people at large consider "Negligence" is in legalese defined as "gross negligence", which, I don't see that disclaimer excusing the organization of consequences of "gross negligence"

...okay, enough overanalysis...

Matt S
December 1st, 2003, 06:59 PM
Here's a cynical lawyer's take on waivers:

1) Ask yourself this question, if these waivers were as iron-clad as they sound, why do we get so worried about liability insurance? Because they are NOT! The dirty little secret about waivers is that they are one factor, among many, the courts consider in determining who among the plaintiffs and defendants has assumed responsibilty for what.
2) Their real purpose is to impress the uninformed and hopefully scare of claims so lacking in merit that even the benighted idiot who injured himself wonders whether he can ask for money without looking like a complete jerk.
3) And to take the cynicism one step further, the real reason we have these waivers, and every letter and punctuation mark contained therein, is because the insurance company issuing the policy insisted on them. USMS is a volunteer organization. We do not pull in big money, certainly not enough to compensate all the people who work for USMS and its related activities the real value of their labor. Given that, these people do tend to insist that their kiesters are covered from having to pay for something stupid someone else did. That means insurance, and that means we have to jump through whatever hoops the insurance company wants. I'll spare you my riff on how "risks" and "frivolous claims" are only peripherally related to insurance rates; suffice it to say that there are office buildings full of people working for insurance companies who are paid to be pessimistic to the point of obsessive paranoia. Even if it's only a buck or two a case, that adds up to real money when you are a big insurance company with 100's of 1000's of policies.
4) If you try to line-out portions of one of the waivers in a meet I am running, your entry will bounce higher than if you forgot to sign the waiver at all. (Mostly because you have ID'ed yourself as a trouble-maker, rather than absent-minded.) Put it another way, if you think that as an opinionated amateur you understand insurance law better than the legal staff of an insurance company, and that I am going to put my wallet on the line based on your interpretation, you are nuts!