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9/6/12 The Dangers of Signing Waivers for Your Children - Tampa Personal Injury Blog - keithligorilaw.

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7 K H ` D Q J H UV R I 6 LJ Q LQ J : D LY H UV I R U < R X U
& K LOG UH Q
Sep 04 Posted by Keith Ligori Law in Latest in the Law
We do it without thinking. A company hands us a contract with lines and we
scrawl our signature onto the paper, never to think of it again. When something
goes wrong, however, that signature can come back to haunt us, especially in
the case of children.
When a parent signs a release from liability form, they are waiving any claims
that their child, or themselves can bring against the company. Furthermore, by
signing the form, they are indemnifying the company for any claims the injured
party might bring against them. That's the danger.
Amy Locastro took her thirteen-year-old daughter Alexis Locastro to a
Claire's store in Florida to have her ear pierced. Before the piercing, Mrs. Locastro was required to sign a relase
from liability form, waiving any claims that her daughter might have if she was injured due to the negligence of
Claire's or its employees. By signing the form, she also promised to indemnify Claire's for any claims she or her
daughter might bring against them. One Florida case recently highlighted exactly what risks come with signing a
contract.
In the case of Locastro v. Claire's Boutiques, Inc., Alexis Locastro, a thirteen-year-old girl, had her ears pierced
at a Claire's Store in Florida. It's just procedural and it often doesn't even cross your mind, but Alexis's mother
signed a release of liability form, waiving any claims that her daughter might have if she was injured due to the
negligence of Claire's or its employees. The form also indemnified Claire's for any claims she or her daughter
might bring against them.
Unfortunately, Alexis soon developed an infection that required surgery, and hospitalization for eight days.
Following the surgery, Alexis was left with permanent deformities of her ear. Amy Locastro then filed a lawsuit
for her daughter which ultimately went to trial. The jury decided Claires was negligent in causing the injury to
Alexis and found about $70,000 in total damages. This might seem like a win, but as Amy would soon find out,
those forms were not on her side.
After this verdict, Claire's filed a motion to require Amy Locastro to reimburse it, citing the indemnification
agreement she signed before Alexis ever had her ears pierced. Remember that document? You do now. The
judge agreed with Claire's and entered a verdict against Amy for over $200,000 for defense costs, attorney's
feeds and the judgement Claire's owed to her daughter, effectively leaving the Locastro's with a verdict of
roughly -$130,00.
Amy appealed this judgement, arguing that the agreement she signed was against Florida's public policy and
should be voided. Fortunately for the Locastro's and anyone else in a similar situation, the Fourth District Court
of Appeal in West Palm Beach agreed. The court held that any indemnification agreement requiring a parent to
indemnify a commercial activity provider for injuries their children suffer as a result of the business' negligence is
invalid.
9/6/12 The Dangers of Signing Waivers for Your Children - Tampa Personal Injury Blog - keithligorilaw.com
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Now, the question of whether these types of agreements are enforceable may be determined by the Supreme
Court of Florida, if it chooses to hear the case. Luckily, the Florida Legislature enacted a law in the meantime
which allows parents to release a commercial activity provider for a child's injuries, if the injury is recognized as
an inherent risk of participating in the activity.
Until then, personal injury Attorney Keith Ligori recommends not singing any forms that will not allow you bring a
claim against a company for injuries they caused.
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