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legalgems, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 9903
Experience:  Just Answer consultant at Self employed
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If I have a volunteer to help with home repairs and before

Customer Question

If I have a volunteer to help with home repairs and before work begins I have him sign a waiver stating if he incurs any type of injury while completing work on my property I am not liable and he cannot sue me for any damages? Also, if I am the volunteer that is assisting a homeowner with home chore tasks and something is broken, missing, etc., can that individual successfully sue me for damages even if that person signed a waiver stating he or she would not sue if any damages would incur while I was completing work as a volunteer on his or her premises. Thank you for your assistance. Mary B. @ ***@******.***
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Mn.
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: No
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Our church is proposing that we recruit volunteers to assist other church members with home repairs, driving to appts., etc. In theory it sounds really good but am concerned with potential liability as church does not want to take out any additional insurance to potentially cover an bliability
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  legalgems replied 9 months ago.

Hello! I will be reviewing your question and posting a response momentarily; if you have any follow up questions please respond here. Thanks!

Expert:  legalgems replied 9 months ago.

I agree that the motive is a great one, but I understand the concern re: liability, rightfully so.

A party cannot waive conduct that constitutes willful or wanton behavior. That was a standard common law doctrine, that has been codified by the legislature in the below statute:

604.055 WAIVER OF LIABILITY FOR NEGLIGENT CONDUCT. Subdivision 1. Certain agreements are void and unenforceable. An agreement between parties for a consumer service, including a recreational activity, that purports to release, limit, or waive the liability of one party for damage, injuries, or death resulting from conduct that constitutes greater than ordinary negligence is against public policy and void and unenforceable. The agreement, or portion thereof, is severable from a release, limitation, or waiver of liability for damage, injuries, or death resulting from conduct that constitutes ordinary negligence or for risks that are inherent in a particular activity. Subd. 2. Party or parties. For the purposes of this section, "party" or "parties" includes a person, agent, servant, or employee of that party or parties, and includes a minor or another who is authorized to sign or accept the agreement on behalf of the minor. Subd. 3. Other void and unenforceable agreements. Thissection does not prevent a court from finding that an agreement is void and unenforceable as against public policy on other grounds or under other law.

So basically if a party acts willfully, they can still be liable. So a person would be liable for stealing; they can also be liable if they willfully/recklessly allow a dangerous condition to exist on their property, when a reasonable person expects that it could result in physical harm to another.

Also, any waivers need to be reviewed by an attorney, as overly broad, vague, contradictory waivers can be voided. Normally the court will simply strike the portion that they deem overly broad, vague etc.

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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.