My son was injured at a birthday party while rock wall climbing. Before he began to climb, I signed a waiver which said I would not sue the party venue. But, my son appers to have injured his shoulder badly when he fell. Can I sue the party venue anyway?

The short answer is probably. General Obligations Law section 5-326 voids any agreement purporting to prevent lawsuits against venues that offer public amusement. Assuming that you paid a fee for your son to rock wall climb and you signed that waiver at the time you paid a fee, you can bring a claim against the owner of the facility.

But just because you can sue does not mean you will win a settlement. You still must show the rock wall climbing facility was at fault for your son’s accident. For example, if your son was hurt because the spotters holding the safety rope for your son was negligent, then you would have a claim. Similarly, you would have a claim if there was a malfunction with the safety rope or any other circumstance within the control of the rock wall climbing facility.

There may be other considerations for young children and high schoolers playing organized sports. The legal doctrine of assumption of risk may affect the ability to bring a successful claim. This issue was briefly addressed in a prior post concerning injuries at school and will be addressed in a future post in more detail.