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Minors and Assumption of Risk

Churches should not rely on release forms signed by minors.

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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  • 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.