Waivers in the Laser Tag Industry
Waivers are often a hot topic among both new and existing operators. Are they necessary? How do they help? Does your insurance company require you to have them? Where can you get waivers? All these questions will be answered below. Are they necessary?
The laser tag industry generally does not use a waiver form for entry in to laser tag for several general reasons –
1) Minors cannot sign the document legally
2) Parents cannot sign away minors rights to safety
3) Parents often cannot sign away the minors rights to sue
4) Non parents may not sign away the rights of minors who happen to be in their care temporarily during the visit to the laser tag facility
5) Several courts throughout the nation have held waivers in general to be useless in a defense of negligence or bad management or even if the waiver is required, the waiver is not freely and voluntarily given which a court has ruled to invalidates the waiver.
6) In some states, the state uses the doctrine of parens patriae which means the State does not allow a minor to sign a waiver which bars a claim for personal injury.
7) Some states have General Liability Laws or At Risks Laws for participatory events that cover all participants and therefore a waiver is not required.
8) It often creates an operational back log – does the guest have to sign it each time? Or is once good enough? Do you have it on file? Is it convenient? How do you locate it after 3 years and you have over ten thousand waivers?
9) It sends a horrible message from a marketing point of view – You spend money to market to get people to play and then shove a form in front of them saying “oh in case you get hurt you can’t sue us”.
That being said…
Some operators still use the waiver system for a couple of reasons. One is that a waiver, while not applicable, may still dissuade parents from seeking legal recourse after a minor injury. They will look at the waiver and assume that the player knew what the risk was when they signed it. Second, the waiver is a great form of data collection for marketing for your facility.
Does your insurance company require that you have them?
If the answer is yes, then your carrier may not understand the laser tag industry. It may be better to find a carrier that does entertainment facilities, or at least other laser tag businesses. Waivers should not affect your premium in any way.
Where can you get waivers?
Doing a search for entertainment facility waivers may get you some results. Zone operators have the option of purchasing a waiver/membership kiosk from Zone Laser Tag. Our software helps on both fronts and directly installs all information submitted to an internal database that you can use for your marketing needs.
So operators don’t necessarily need waivers as in many to most cases, they won’t matter anyway in court, but having a system in place will show that you made efforts to inform your players of the potential risk of injury in your arena and it’s not a bad thing.