Does Montana law enforce liability waivers?

As a state, Montana is known for its many fun and exciting recreational opportunities. Some of these opportunities may bring with them certain inherent risks. These risks may be due to the physical features or attractions involved, or the nature of the opportunities themselves. To help shield themselves from liability concerns, the providers of said opportunities may ask you (and other participants) to sign a waiver prior to your participation. Are such waivers enforceable? 

In Montana, waivers are not even required in some instances. Section 27-1-753 of Montana’s Annotated Code states that you assume the risks of any sporting or recreational activity in which you choose to participate. This assumption of risk means that if you are injured while participating in said activity, you cannot hold the provider liable. The only exception to this rule is if your injury is due to an activity provider’s own negligence. 

Yet those who provide recreational opportunities in the state can still be protected in instances where they may have been negligent. Singing a liability waiver frees them of any responsibility, regardless of the circumstances. It should be known, however, that certain standards must be met in order for this protection to be afforded. First, the waiver must stipulate all of the known risks associated with the sport or activity being promoted. Then the waiver must contain language that clearly communicates the notion that by signing it, you agree to accept full responsibility for any injuries or damages that are inherent to the activity or due to a lack or reasonable care on the part of the provider. 

Such waivers can still be challenged, yet to do so, you typically need to have evidence that an activity provider was operating in bad faith.