What is a Written Liability Waiver?
A written liability waiver is a legal document where a party agrees not to sue your company in the case of a particular event or occurrence. For example, if your company sells deep sea diving experiences, you might get a liability waiver signed by all customers so that they fully understand the risks of the activity they are willingly participating in. With a signed liability waiver, the chances of your company being sued in the case of an accident or injury will decrease.
Learn more about liability waivers .
What’s Included in a Liability Waiver?
The kind of liability waiver that you draft will differ based on the industry you operate in. Broadly, the contents of a liability waiver include the following.
- Caution to participants: Include a caution to readers in the beginning of the document urging participants to read the waiver carefully. The warning should be highlighted so that it catches appropriate attention from readers.
- Activity risks: The waiver should describe in detail the risks surrounding the activity or service provided by your company. The participant must be made fully informed of potential risks before they can take part in the activity. They must also be made aware that your company will not cover their insurance costs.
- Voluntary assumption of risk: You should include a clause in the waiver stating that the signatory is fully aware of the risks involved and has voluntarily accepted them.
- Release clause: Often called ‘hold harmless’, the release clause in the waiver must clearly state that your company will not carry the burden of liability in the case of harm. This is an extremely important section of the liability waiver and must be formulated clearly and in understandable language.
- Indemnity agreement: Most liability waivers will include an indemnification clause whereby the signatory agrees to pay for your defense costs in case they act in ways to sue you.
- Waiver laws: Especially for activities involving multiple locations and travel, a clause specifically stating which region the waiver applies to becomes very important. This will ensure that all parties agree to which law will govern in case of a dispute, and where a lawsuit can be taken.
Here is an article that goes deeper into the contents of a liability waiver.
How to Write a Liability Waiver- Step by Step
Several steps are involved in the legal drafting of a liability waiver. These steps will depend on the services offered by your company and the risks involved. Broadly, the process should involve the following:
- Step 1: Research industry standards. Gather information on the contents of liability waivers that competitors in your industry use. This exercise will ensure that you have covered all potential risks and are following best practice.
- Step 2: Understand the law. Research the law in the region of your operations. Laws relating to waivers change depending on which state or country you are functioning in. Before drafting the waiver, you must fully understand the law in your jurisdiction to ensure your waiver is enforceable.
- Step 3: Consult a lawyer. You should consider consulting business lawyers to draft the liability waiver for your company. Lawyers will use precise and clear language which will ensure that your waiver is legally binding in court. You may also find a reliable template for a waiver online and get it reviewed by a lawyer later.
- Step 4: Ensuring informed participation. Once your waiver has been drafted, reviewed and finalized, you should ensure that participants are not coerced into signing the waivers. They must be given enough time to carefully read through the document and willingly sign it.
When you May Need a Liability Waiver
If your business involves any inherent risk, you may need a liability waiver to protect you from claims of injuries or damages. Accident waivers are most common and involve any situation where the service provided by your company poses potential risks of injury or harm to the participant. Another common waiver is damage waiver like in the car renting business; where your rental company can charge a damage insurance coverage to protect yourself in case the renter damages the car. Here are some examples of when to use a liability waiver:
- Events: Some events like competitions and sporting events have voluntary participation and carry an inherent risk of injury. Participant waivers are used in events for setting out the terms of participation. Participant waivers ensure that the participant acknowledges their voluntary participation and takes responsibility for any accident that might happen during that participation.
- Ski Resorts: Skiing carries a known risk of injury which requires skiers to have sound judgment, physical strength, and outdoor experience. Ski resorts often use liability waivers to prevent claims related to skier injuries. Some even print a disclaimer directly on the lift pass to avoid liability for injury or in worst cases, death.
- Contractors: Contractor relationships are perfect for liability waivers. A waiver can prevent you from being liable for claims that occur at your facilities. The contractor is responsible for covering their claims unless you acted with negligence in general cases.
- Insurance Claims: Once customers accept an insurance settlement, insurance companies want reassurance that the claim is settled in full. Liability waivers in release forms help them achieve this objective so no new claims can be brought in and the insurance company isn’t held liable.
- Amusement Parks: Amusement parks are inherently dangerous places because of the high risk rides they offer. Operators are wise to incorporate a liability waiver into their ticket sales process. This protects them from unpreventable damages or harm that might happen within the premises.
- Massage Therapists: Massage therapy generally provides natural health benefits. However, an unknown condition or prior injury could result in new or worsening injuries for many customers. Massage therapists can protect themselves from claims by asking customers to sign liability waivers.
- Tourism Companies: The act of traveling by car, bus, train, or plane is dangerous in and of itself. Accidents can happen anytime. Tourism companies not only utilize these modes of transportation, but they also offer other activities that carry a risk as well. Liability waivers ensure that the company can keep the fun going as long as they are doing their part to keep everyone safe.
Here is more on when you might need a liability waiver.
Who Writes Liability Waivers?
Typically, experienced attorneys and lawyers will write liability waivers. This will ensure that your company gets the most effective waiver that deters potential lawsuits. If your organization is looking to save money you can choose to use a waiver template available online, but you should still get it referred by a lawyer.
If you need help drafting a liability waiver or other release of liability, contract lawyers can help. They can assist you from the initial intake all the way to the contract signing. Most contract lawyers offer counsel as business lawyers, which means they’re well-suited to help you navigate complicated matters.
Explore some of our liability waiver lawyers .
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