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Minors and Assumption of Risk

Churches should not rely on release forms signed by minors.

Florida
State:
Key point. Minors do not have the capacity to sign contracts, and therefore cannot sign binding "releases" or "assumptions of risk" that exempt churches or other organizations from legal liability.

A Florida court ruled that a 13—year—old girl could sue a ranch for injuries she sustained when she fell off a horse despite the fact that she signed a legal document releasing the ranch from all liability for any accident or injury. A sign at the ranch stated: "Caution: Horseback riding can be dangerous. Ride at your own risk." In addition, the girl was asked to sign a release form that stated:

In consideration of permission granted to me to ride [horses at the ranch] I hereby, for myself, my heirs, administrators, and assigns, release, remise, and discharge the [ranch] and its agents and employees, of and from all claims, demands, actions and injuries, sustained to my person ...

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Posted:
  • July 1, 1997

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Church Issues: Waivers and Release Forms and Church Liability
Church Issues: Waivers and Release Forms and Church Liability
What these documents do—and don't do—based on statutes and court decisions made nationwide.