Should I sign a parental release so my child can attend the skate park?
Children in Florida and other states have been seriously injured, and even died, while participating in these types of activities. Most skate parks (and other similar commercial amusement-type enterprises), will require the parent of a minor child to sign a release of liability orm which is intended to release the business owner of the park and its employees from any and all liability in the event the child is injured while at the park. Up until December 2008, these release forms, also called “pre-injury releases” signed by the parent were generally considered to be enforceable by the courts in Florida so long as the release language was clear, unambiguous, and specifically stated that the park was being released from liability for its own negligence. In December 2008, the Florida Supreme Court decided in the case of Kirton v. Fields, 997 So. 2d 349 (Fla. 2008), that a “pre-injury release” signed by the parent of a minor child is not enforceable against the minor child, or the minor child’s estate in any lawsuit brought against a commercial establishment (such as a motorsports or skate park) for injuries sustained by the child. Despite the ruling in the Kirton case, it is likely that commercial business operators of these types of sports parks may still require that you sign a release before allowing your minor child into the park. If your child does attend one of these parks, check the park out first to make sure that it is properly operated with sufficient staff, and that the park’s safety rules and regulations are enforced.