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Are liability waivers enforceable in Missouri?

Kansas City offers plenty of activities for you and your family to enjoy during the summer months. There may be times, however, when your participation in such activities is contingent on you signing a liability waiver. Such waivers are meant to signify that you understand that there might be inherent risks associated with a certain activity or entering on to a property, and by signing it, you agree to absolve the property owner of liability for any accidents that may occur. While you may agree that a property owner should be held liable for any injuries resulting from your own carelessness, you might also assume that a liability waiver does not extend to cases of obvious negligence. 

That may not always be the case. Liability waivers must be detailed in their descriptions in order to be enforceable. They cannot simply claim to protect a property owner of liability in any situation. However, those details that they do address may indeed protect property owners even in cases where their own negligence may have contributed to an accident. 

A 2013 state appellate court ruling cited a Missouri Supreme Court decision that detailed how the state does not recognize degrees of negligence. This means that even claims of gross negligence (a conscious act of neglect or blatant omission of duty that demonstrates a disregard for the safety of others) might not overcome the protections afforded by a liability waiver. What this means is that in instances specifically addressed by a liability waiver, you may have difficulty assigning blame to a property owner. Cases of negligence not directly addressed in a waiver, however, may leave said property owner open to liability claims. 

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