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We see disclaimers almost every day. And just about as frequently we’re asked whether they’re effective. Like with most legal questions, the answer is “it depends”.

The general rule is pretty easy to articulate. In Washington exculpatory clauses are enforceable unless (1) they violate public policy; (2) the negligent act falls greatly below the standard established by law for protection of others; or (3) they are inconspicuous.

It’s applying the general rule that’s challenging and depends on the facts of each particular case. This is particularly true in cases involving injuries at health clubs, ski resorts and other recreational areas.

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