Our Daughter is considering entering a mental health recovery program in North Carolina. We live in CA. The program has asked us to sign a waiver of liability. This indicates to me that they wish to take no responsibility for injury or damages that might result from their care. This indicates to me that this is not a program that we should allow our Daughter to participate in. We have requested information about their liability insurance policy, but nothing has been forthcoming. My past experience with this sort of matter is that one can write in a statement that cancels the waiver if negligence is involved
State/Country relating to Question: North Carolina
What specifically is your question?
Would it be a good idea to send a family member to a program that requested a waiver of liability?
What precisely does the language in the waiver say?
We don't know yet. Have asked for the document to be sent to us asap. Past experience in situations like this, attorneys have advised me to write in the words "except when negiligence of business entity, staff or ....? is present".In general, it would seem to me asking for waiver of liability or release of liability would be a warning of a program that carries no liability insurance. Our family member has high risk conditions of brain injury and severe anxiety making it difficult of impossible to make decisions and we are expecting 24/7 care and oversight. If an injury occurs we do not want to give up any rights to recovery.
The attorneys who have advised you in the past were correct. However, generally speaking, a waiver of liability for the facility's own negligence is not binding and will not be held up by the courts. So there should be no concerns of signing such a waiver. The waiver of liability should only come into play if and when your daughter causes injury or property damage to herself or others, without any contributing negligence on the part of the facility or its staff. Of course, whether the facility is sufficiently insured is a completely different story. Regardless, if the facility is not insured, then it does not matter whether there is a waiver or not. I'd be more concerned about finding out if they are insured, as opposed to the waiver.
10+years of experience in all matters of civil litigation and Hearing Officer/Arbitrator
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