Florida Legislature Passes Parental Waiver for Theme Parks, Motorsports

April 21, 2010

The Florida Legislature has passed a bill reinstating parental waivers of liability against theme parks, go-cart tracks and similar businesses.

The House voted 114-0 Tuesday to pass the measure (SB 2440) that the Senate previously approved 38-0. It now goes to Gov. Charlie Crist.

The measure gained support after the Florida Supreme Court in December 2008 invalidated parental liability waivers in a case involving a 14-year-old boy who was killed while riding an all-terrain vehicle at a commercial track.

The court ruled that a parent can’t execute an injury liability waiver for a minor child when the liability release involves participation in a commercial, as opposed to community or nonprofit, activity because the state had no specific statute supporting such waivers. Such releases are more in the interest of the commercial interests requiring them than they are in the best interests of the public or the child who may be injured, the court found. The boy’s family was allowed to sue the track although his father had signed a liability waiver.

The bill authorizes natural guardians, on behalf of their minor children, to waive any claim or cause of action to the same extent that an adult may do on his or her own behalf.

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