Question: In the State of Indiana, what is the liability of property owners when you have signed a waiver and you get injured while skiing/sledding/tubing?
Answer: Potentially none. Indiana courts permit parties to agree in advance that one is under no obligation for the care of another and shall not be liable for the consequences of conduct which would otherwise be negligent. However, exceptions to this general rule exist when there is unequal bargaining power between the parties such that the party against whom the release is to be enforced did not “knowingly and willingly” execute the release or when there is evidence of fraud or misrepresentation. “Knowingly” refers to whether the party who signs the release understands its contents, while “willingly” refers to whether the release was signed under economic or other duress. Indiana has upheld the validity of exculpatory releases in connection with a voluntary recreational activity, even though it prevents the injured party from recovering for his injuries. To hold that releases are unenforceable on the basis that it limits an individual’s recovery for injuries would invalidate all exculpatory releases connected with a recreational activity which would dramatically raise the cost of participation in these activities and severely limit the public’s recreational opportunities.