A lot of misinformation here. Some of the responses have a kernel of truth, but that truth is being misapplied, or at least applied too broadly. As it happens, I wrote an article on my state’s law on this topic last month. I’ll try to get back later with more on this topic, but am running late this morning, so this’ll be brief.
As a general rule, this is flat-out wrong in many, if not most states. These kind of liability waivers are enforced by courts, if properly drafted. Negligence is precisely what they waive. However, I am aware of some states that take a different view, and even those states tend to place some limits. For example, pre-event negligence waivers aren’t enforceable in Illinois when applied to certain relationships (doctor/patient, landlord/tenant, for example. Recreational activity waivers are enforced, though, if they meet some basic tests.
Mostly, no. Some states have a similar rule, but most don’t, at least not one (like the onle you quote) that broadly invalidates all such waivers.
No and no. True, contracts that are illegal, or that have an illegal act as their subject, will not be enforced. If you and I bet on a football game, or I hire you to sell my house, neither contract will be enforced in my state, because gambling is illegal, and you (AFAIK, anyway) don’t have an Illinois broker’s license. On the other hand, if I run a (legal) skydiving school, or a volleyball league, or a health club, and have my customers sign a negligence waiver, it’ll be enforced (if it’s properly drafted - again, there are some standards that it has to meet.)
Note: If the tortfeasor’s act goes beyond simple negligence - if the wrongdoing is intentional, or grossly negligent - the situation changes. There, I would agree that most states would not enforce a waiver.
Bottom line - the replies so far in this thread essentially encourage people to sign these waivers without giving them a second thought, because they won’t be enforced. In the US, in most states, that’s bad advice.
This is general information, and not legal advice. I have specifically not addressed the scenario in the OP, because I have no clue about Delaware law, and laws on this topic vary widely among states. Although IAAL, I’m not one in Delaware. Anyone faced with this issue in real llife should consult an attorney in the applicable state.