ContractsCounsel Logo

Hold Harmless Agreement

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 9,759 reviews
No Upfront Payment Required, Pay Only If You Hire.
Home Types of Contracts Hold Harmless Agreement

Jump to Section

A hold harmless agreement is a legal contract where one party agrees not to hold the other responsible for certain risks, often specified in the agreement. Hold harmless agreements typically apply to physical damage or risk. These agreements can either be one-way (known as unilateral) agreements, or they can be mutual (known as reciprocal) agreements. You can sign a hold harmless agreement either before or after the activity covered occurs.

Other names for a hold harmless agreement include:

When Should You Use a Hold Harmless Agreement?

Businesses that provide high-risk activities (skydiving sessions, for example) frequently hold harmless agreements. Though these agreements do not offer absolute liability protection, they do indicate that a customer acknowledges certain risks and agrees to take these risks. Hold harmless agreements are also used often in the construction industry.

However, even if you don't operate a high-risk business, there are plenty of reasons why you might choose to use a hold harmless agreement. Common examples include:

  • You are hiring a service and want to protect yourself from liability should someone suffer an injury while they are performing those services.
  • You are hosting an event and want legal protection if a participant gets injured during the event.
  • You are renting out or allowing someone else to use your property and want to protect yourself from liability if an incident takes place on your property.
  • You plan to participate in a dangerous activity, and you agree that you won't hold anybody else liable for actions you take.
  • You own a business or sports agency that involves customers or participants engaged in physical activities that involve risks (like sports) and want to protect your business.
  • An injury or other incident occurred during an event you sponsored or on your property, and the person involved has agreed they will not hold you or the business you own liable.

Example Scenario

Here's an example of a common scenario when people may choose to use a hold harmless agreement. You decide you want to hire someone who will do remodeling work on your property. You don't want to be held liable should the workers hurt themselves while on property you own, so you ask them to sign a hold harmless agreement to ensure you're protected if an incident does occur.

At the same time, the contractors also want protection while doing their job on your property. They may, in turn, ask you to sign a harmless agreement so they are not held liable if someone wanders into the construction site and gets hurt.

What Information Should a Hold Harmless Agreement Include?

Any hold harmless agreement should include a few key provisions, including:

  • The party that will be held harmless or protected, including their contact information and address
  • The other party to the agreement, including their contact information and address
  • The date of the agreement
  • Details of the location and who will be holding the event or activity
  • Details about the event or activity itself covered by the agreement (for example, construction, horseback riding, etc.)
  • Date the agreement should take effect and how long it will last
  • Signatures of all parties and the date the agreement is signed
Meet some lawyers on our platform

Ryenne S.

551 projects on CC
View Profile

Taren C.

2 projects on CC
View Profile

Richard N.

111 projects on CC
View Profile

Daehoon P.

185 projects on CC
View Profile

Types of Hold Harmless Agreements

A few basic types of hold harmless agreements exist, including:

  • General: General hold harmless agreements are created to protect a given party from liability during a specific event or occurrence that the agreement describes. The document will need to describe the event being protected. For instance, you're hosting a festival on the site of your business, and anyone using the trampoline will hold you and your business harmless for liability arising out of that use.
  • Property Use: If a venue owner or another property owner rents space, they will often ask the party renting the space to sign a hold harmless agreement or a similar agreement to provide a release of liability. The property owner is then relieved of liability if someone is injured on the property. Property owners renting out space for an event may also require the renter to obtain event insurance. Here is an article about renting out your property.
  • Services: These hold harmless agreements offer protection from something that occurs while someone is providing a service. Again, the document will need to describe the services included in the agreement. For instance, a general contractor hires a subcontractor for a specific job, and the subcontractor agrees to hold that contractor harmless.

Hold harmless agreements are common in the construction industry as part of construction contracts. Here is an article about construction contracts.

A few basic types of hold harmless agreements are used for construction:

  • Broad Form: A subcontractor being insured will assume all related liability with this kind of agreement. Liability may be related to accidents, negligence on the part of the subcontractor, negligence on the part of the general contractor, and combined negligence of two. Because these agreements include broad terms, many jurisdictions actually prohibit this type of agreement. In other cases, a subcontractor would need to finance its liability with an insurance policy to validate a broad form hold harmless agreement.
  • Intermediate Form: An intermediate form of a hold harmless agreement is one of the most common kinds of this agreement. A subcontractor will assume all liability for their negligence and accidents with this kind of agreement. However, the subcontractor is not held accountable for negligence or accidents of the general contractor. The agreement does not depend on whether an action was the subcontractor's fault but on who was acting negligently or responsible for an accident. If both parties are negligent, the subcontractor is held responsible and liable for their own omissions and actions.
  • Limited Form: A subcontractor will be held accountable just for the negligence or accident, but in a limited way with this type of agreement. In other words, the subcontractor only assumes liability for the proportional part of their responsibility. This kind of hold harmless agreement includes other parties under their own respective hold harmless agreements for their part of negligence or accidents.

Who Execute Hold Harmless Agreements?

Hold harmless agreements are an important tool in risk governance and are commonly used in a wide range of contexts. In addition, the enforceability of hold harmless agreements can differ by jurisdiction and may be subject to legal restrictions and provisions. Additionally, some jurisdictions may have ordinances or limitations on the use of hold harmless clauses in specific contexts, such as consumer contracts, to safeguard the rights of individuals. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with a legal advisor when preparing or executing such agreements to ensure that they comply with relevant regulations and provide the intended protections. Also, hold harmless agreements can be implemented by a wide range of individuals and organizations, depending on the specific circumstances and the nature of the legal agreement. Below are the key parties who execute hold harmless agreements:

  • Business Contractors: Hold harmless agreements are commonly used in various business contractors to mitigate potential risks and protect the involved parties. This safeguards the main contractor from potential lawsuits arising from the subcontractor's actions or negligence.
  • Property Owners: Lessors usually include hold harmless provisions in their lease contracts, requiring lessees to hold the lessor harmless from any liability for damages that may occur on the leased property.
  • Professional Service Providers: Service providers, such as consultants, contractors, and freelancers, may use hold harmless agreements to limit their liability when offering their expertise to clients. For example, a marketing agency might include a hold harmless clause in its contract, stating that they are not responsible for any legal claims arising from the client's use of the marketing materials provided.
  • Business Owners: When two or more business owners collaborate for a joint venture or business association, they may use hold harmless agreements to allocate risks and obligations. Each party may agree to compensate and hold the other parties harmless from any damages caused by their actions or conduct within the association.
  • Event Managers: Event managers, such as those conducting sports events, concerts, or carnivals, often need participants, suppliers, or performers to sign hold harmless agreements. These contracts can help transfer the obligation for injuries or material damage that may happen during the event from the organizer to the liable party.
  • Real Estate Contractors: Hold harmless agreements are often used in the construction and real estate domain. Contractors may mandate their subcontractors to execute such contracts to safeguard themselves from liability for casualties, property impairment, or building defects. Property owners may even utilize these contracts to protect themselves from possible lawsuits arising from construction activities.

Will Your Hold Harmless Agreement Stand Up in Court?

When it comes to hold harmless agreements, validity varies based on where you are located and the exact situation described in your agreement. Simply having a hold harmless agreement won't always protect you from a lawsuit. Additionally, a hold harmless agreement could be deemed null and void if the signing party presents a strong case about being coerced into signing the agreement.

You will need to make certain that any hold harmless agreement you use is legally compliant in your state so that you are protected from potential losses. Some states won't uphold this type of agreement if it draws on overly broad or nebulous language to protect from liability. States may also have anti-indemnity laws prohibiting hold harmless agreements in certain construction situations. Still, other hold harmless agreements may not stand up in court if the injury occurs as the result of negligence from something like subpar equipment.

Your best bet is working with an experienced lawyer who can advise you about the enforceability of your agreement and ensure you use the best language for your unique situation. That way, you'll know you have a hold harmless agreement that works for you and your business.

Final Thoughts on Hold Harmless Agreements

A hold harmless agreement offers valuable security for companies and people alike. By using these contracts, parties can assign risks, restrict their liabilities, and protect themselves from potential legal lawsuits arising from the acts or negligence of others. Nevertheless, it is essential to prepare these agreements thoughtfully and consult legal experts to ensure they are enforceable and provide sufficient protection for all parties involved.

If you want free pricing proposals from vetted lawyers that are 60% less than typical law firms, click here to get started. By comparing multiple proposals for free, you can save the time and stress of finding a quality lawyer for your business needs.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Hold Harmless Agreement Lawyers

Don G. on ContractsCounsel
View Don
4.9 (21)
Member Since:
March 1, 2021

Don G.

Attorney at law
Free Consultation
Oklahoma City, OK
23 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TX
Texas Tech School of Law

Texas licensed attorney specializing for 22 years in Business and Contract law with a focus on construction law and business operations. My services include General Business Law Advisement; Contract Review and Drafting; Legal Research and Writing; Business Formation; Articles or Instructive Writing; and more. I am able to draft and review contracts, and have experience with, contract law and business formation in any state. For more insight into my skills and experience, please feel free to visit my LinkedIn profile or contact me with any questions.

Kelvin R. on ContractsCounsel
View Kelvin
4.8 (11)
Member Since:
February 25, 2022
Garrett M. on ContractsCounsel
View Garrett
4.9 (4)
Member Since:
June 15, 2023

Garrett M.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Cincinnati, Ohio
4 Yrs Experience
Licensed in KY, OH
University of Cincinnati College of Law

Attorney Garrett Mayleben's practice is focused on representing small businesses and the working people that make them profitable. He represents companies in structuring and negotiating merger, acquisition, and real estate transactions; guides emerging companies through the startup phase; and consults with business owners on corporate governance matters. Garrett also practices in employment law, copyright and trademark law, and civil litigation. Though industry agnostic, Garrett has particular experience representing medical, dental, veterinary, and chiropractic practices in various business transactions, transitions, and the structuring of related management service organizations (MSOs).

Rosario A. on ContractsCounsel
View Rosario
5.0 (1)
Member Since:
August 24, 2020

Rosario A.

Trademark Attorney
Free Consultation
Seattle, WA
4 Yrs Experience
Licensed in WA
University of Washington

I'm a Washington-licensed lawyer specializing in trademark practice and with an extensive trademark education and academic background. I currently work with domestic and international businesses seeking trademark protection in the U.S. by conducting trademark searches, providing legal advice, submitting USPTO applications, and preparing responses to office actions. I'm passionate about trademark law and always looking forward to helping small and medium businesses promote their value by having a registered federal trademark. If you have questions or concerns about trademark/copyright/IP licensing and require legal advice, feel free to contact me and we can have a first chat.

Anatalia S. on ContractsCounsel
View Anatalia
4.8 (5)
Member Since:
August 26, 2020
Jeffrey P. on ContractsCounsel
View Jeffrey
Member Since:
August 24, 2020

Jeffrey P.

Member
Free Consultation
Deerfield Beach, FL
15 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL, NY
Florida State University College of Law

Mr. Pomeranz serves as the principal of Pomeranz Law PLLC, a boutique law firm representing clients across myriad industries and verticals. Before founding the firm, Mr. Pomeranz served as Senior Vice President, Legal & Compliance and General Counsel of Mortgage Connect, LP in 2017. Mr. Pomeranz also served as Counsel, Transactions for Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. (NASDAQ: ASPS) beginning in 2013, and was based in the company’s C-Suite in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. Mr. Pomeranz began his career with Mainline Information Systems, Inc. as an in-house attorney.

Rinky P. on ContractsCounsel
View Rinky
Member Since:
August 25, 2020

Rinky P.

Managing Attorney
Free Consultation
Tampa, FL
31 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA, FL, TX
University of Minnesota

Rinky S. Parwani began her career practicing law in Beverly Hills, California handling high profile complex litigation and entertainment law matters. Later, her practice turned transactional to Lake Tahoe, California with a focus on business startups, trademarks, real estate resort development and government law. After leaving California, she also served as in-house counsel for a major lending corporation headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa as well as a Senior Vice President of Compliance for a fortune 500 mortgage operation in Dallas, Texas prior to opening Parwani Law, P.A. in Tampa, Florida. She has represented various sophisticated individual, government and corporate clients and counseled in a variety of litigation and corporate matters throughout her career. Ms. Parwani also has prior experience with state and federal consumer lending laws for unsecured credit cards, revolving credit, secured loans, retail credit, sales finance and mortgage loans. She also has served as a special magistrate and legal counsel for numerous Florida County Value Adjustment Boards. Her practice varies significantly from unique federal and state litigation cases to transactional matters. Born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, Ms. Parwani worked in private accounting for several years prior to law school. Her background includes a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certificate from Iowa (currently the license is inactive) and a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation (currently the designation is inactive). Ms. Parwani or the firm is currently a member of the following organizations: Hillsborough County Bar Association, American Bar Association, Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association, National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Association. Ms. Parwani is a frequent volunteer for Fox Channel 13 Tampa Bay Ask-A-Lawyer. She has published an article entitled "Advising Your Client in Foreclosure" in the Stetson Law Review, Volume 41, No. 3, Spring 2012 Foreclosure Symposium Edition. She is a frequent continuing legal education speaker and has also taught bankruptcy seminars for the American Bar Association and Amstar Litigation. She was commissioned by the Governor of Kentucky as a Kentucky Colonel. In addition, she teaches Immigration Law, Bankruptcy Law and Legal Research and Writing as an adjunct faculty instructor at the Hillsborough Community College Ybor campus in the paralegal studies program.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Hold Harmless Agreement

New York

Asked on Aug 16, 2021

Hold harmless agreement for international supplier?

I am buying supplements from a manufacturer outside the USA. I want to make a hold harmless agreement for the manufacturer.

Jane C.

Answered Sep 28, 2021

It is possible to make a hold harmless agreement. It gets a little complicated to enforce when the supplier is outside of the United States.

Read 1 attorney answer>
See more legal questions…

How It Works

Post Your Project

Get Free Bids to Compare

Hire Your Lawyer

Business lawyers by top cities
See All Business Lawyers
Hold Harmless Agreement lawyers by city
See All Hold Harmless Agreement Lawyers

ContractsCounsel User

Recent Project:
Hold Harmless Agreement For a couple Construction projects. best if someone is has insurance experience NY labor law
Location: New York
Turnaround: Less than a week
Service: Drafting
Doc Type: Hold Harmless Agreement
Number of Bids: 2
Bid Range: $790 - $1,000

ContractsCounsel User

Recent Project:
Draft Boat Rental Rental Agreements
Location: Florida
Turnaround: A week
Service: Drafting
Doc Type: Hold Harmless Agreement
Number of Bids: 10
Bid Range: $0.01 - $3,200
related contracts
See More Contracts
other helpful articles

How It Works

Post Your Project

Get Free Bids to Compare

Hire Your Lawyer

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call

Find lawyers and attorneys by city