Spring is right around the corner and it’s time to go out and about again with your children. If you are a parent, that means school it’s time for more field trips and attending birthday parties. And with field trips and birthdays at certain venues, you, parent, must sign a waiver. Indeed, you are tasked with signing away your child’s legal rights in the event of an injury.
Despite the routineness of this signing away of our children’s legal right of holding a vendor legally accountable, such waivers are not enforceable in Illinois. That’s right – just because you signed it, doesn’t mean the waiver means anything.
Illinois courts do not enforce them. Period. Under Illinois law, when a minor is involved in litigation, she is a ward of the court and the court has a duty and broad discretion to protect the child’s interests. This rule is extended to claims of injury by minor children. Ultimately, Illinois courts have held that a parent waiving their child’s rights is against this rule and thus, against public policy. In initial caselaw, courts held that parents and legal guardians can not waive a minor-child’s rights after an injury. What this means for parents is that if your child is injured due to a business’ negligence, then definitely consider your legal options (whether your child will win is a separate issue). What if the minor-child signed their own legal waiver? Also ‘nope.’ Contracts (which what a waiver is) where a minor is a party can be voided by the minor.