The “As Is” Doctrine and Florida Personal Injury Law

Used cars.jpgPurchasers of used goods, such as appliances and cars, often buy from dealers subject to the condition that the items are being sold “As Is.” Does this provision in a sale agreement insulate the seller from liability for personal injuries caused by a defect? Probably not.

Sellers use “As Is” disclaimers with the intention and expectation of disclaiming all warranties, both express and implied. To be valid, the disclaimers must meet certain requirements such as being written and conspicuousness within the written document.

An “As Is” disclaimer is not an exculpatory clause. An exculpatory clause relieves a party of tort liability. Because exculpatory clauses relieve parties of exercising due care, they are looked upon with disfavor in most states, including Florida. To be enforceable, an exculpatory clause must be so clear and understandable that “an ordinary and knowledgeable person will know what he is contracting away.”