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Maryland takes stand against recreational facility negligence

On Behalf of | Jun 11, 2024 | Personal Injury

In a significant step that shows Maryland’s dedication to keeping consumers safe, the Maryland General Assembly recently passed a new law that prevents recreational facilities from using liability waivers for negligence. Governor Wes Moore signed this bill into law on May 16, 2024, creating a significant win for Maryland’s consumers. The state’s bold move puts an end to the use of agreements that prevent lawsuits for injuries before they happen in commercial recreational spots, which has been a controversial issue for a long time.

Customers didn’t know what they signed

In the past, commercial recreational facilities in Maryland, including trampoline parks, rock-climbing facilities, and similar establishments, could require customers to sign liability waivers for negligence as a condition of entry or participation. Often buried in the fine print of lengthy contracts, these waivers effectively shielded these facilities from legal accountability for injuries or even death caused by their negligence.

This practice was detrimental to consumers’ safety and created an imbalance in the legal landscape. Many paying customers, unaware of the implications of these waivers, were left without legal recourse in the event of an accident caused by the facility’s negligence. It meant consumers were vulnerable and unprotected, which was increasingly at odds with the growing public demand for greater accountability and transparency from all types of businesses.

Pre-injury waivers are unenforceable

Signed into law on May 16, 2024, by Governor Wes Moore, the new law is a game-changer. It declares pre-injury contractual liability waivers for negligence as void and unenforceable as a matter of public policy. In practical terms, commercial recreational facilities can no longer require customers to sign away their rights in advance. This pivotal change ensures that these businesses are held to the same standards of reasonable care as other businesses and professionals in Maryland.

The implications of this law are far-reaching. It not only provides greater protection for consumers but also encourages businesses to prioritize customer safety. Without the safety net of liability waivers, recreational facilities are incentivized to take all necessary precautions to prevent accidents and ensure the safety of their customers.

It sends a clear message that the safety of consumers is paramount and that businesses cannot shirk their responsibility to provide a safe environment. This change is a victory for consumers in Maryland and the broader movement toward greater accountability and transparency in business practices.

State has a three-year statute of limitation

Consumers in Maryland have three years from the time of their injury to file a claim in court. Minors have until they are 18. Those who have questions about a severe injury they or a family member suffered in the last 36 months at a recreational facility may want to discuss the details of the injury with an experienced personal injury attorney who handles premises liability cases. Of course, those injured after May 16 also have this option.