OTHER NAMESWaiverReleaseLiability WaiverWaiver of LiabilityRelease of Liability Form
What is a Release of Liability?
A Release of Liability allows a business to be released from responsibility for any injuries or damages sustained by a participant in an activity either owned or sponsored by the operator. You'll want to use a release of liability template if you own a business and want to reduce your liability, or if you are interested in seeking temporary authority to seek medical emergency information for your patrons.
When can you use a Release of Liability?
You are the organizer, host, sponsor, or another party conducting an activity or event and want to reduce your liability by having participants sign a Release of Liability.
You are the organizer, host, sponsor, or another party conducting an activity or event and are interested in obtaining temporary authority to seek medical emergency treatment for your patrons, including minors.
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Sample Release of Liability
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RELEASE OF LIABILITY
READ CAREFULLY - THIS AFFECTS YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS
In exchange for participation in the activity of organized by , of , , , and/or use of the property, facilities and services of , I, of , , , and/or use of the property, facilities and services of , I, , of , , , agree for myself and (if applicable) for the members of my family, to the following:
. AGREEMENT TO FOLLOW DIRECTIONS. I agree to observe and obey all posted rules and warnings, and further agree to follow any oral instructions or directions given by , or the employees, representatives or agents of ..
. ASSUMPTION OF THE RISKS AND RELEASE. I recognize that there are certain inherent risks associated with the above described activity and I assume full responsibility for personal injury to myself and (if applicable) my family members, and further release and discharge for injury, loss or damage arising out of my or my family's use of or presence upon the facilities of , whether caused by the fault of myself, my family, or other third parties. I recognize that there are certain inherent risks associated with the above described activity and I assume full responsibility for personal injury to myself and (if applicable) my family members, and further release and discharge for injury, loss or damage arising out of my or my family's use of or presence upon the facilities of , whether caused by the fault of myself, my family, or other third parties.
. INDEMNIFICATION. I agree to indemnify and defend against all claims, causes of action, damages, judgments, costs or expenses, including attorney fees and other litigation costs, which may in any way arise from my or my family's use of or presence upon the facilities of . I agree to indemnify and defend against all claims, causes of action, damages, judgments, costs or expenses, including attorney fees and other litigation costs, which may in any way arise from my or my family's use of or presence upon the facilities of .
. FEES. I agree to pay for all damages to the facilities of caused by any negligent, reckless, or willful actions by me or my family.
. CONSENT. I, of , , , consent to the participation of my , , in the activity of , and agree on behalf of the above minor to all of the terms and conditions of this Agreement. By signing this Release of Liability, I represent that I have legal authority over and custody of .
. MEDICAL AUTHORIZATION.In the event of an injury to the above minor during the above described activities, I give my permission to or to the employees, representatives or agents of to arrange for all necessary medical treatment for which I shall be financially responsible. This temporary authority will begin on and will remain in effect until terminated in writing by the undersigned or In the event of an injury to the above minor during the above described activities, I give my permission to or to the employees, representatives or agents of to arrange for all necessary medical treatment for which I shall be financially responsible. This temporary authority will begin on and will remain in effect until terminated in writing by the undersigned or , whichever occurs first. when the above described activities are completed. shall have the following powers:
The power to seek appropriate medical treatment or attention on behalf of my child as may be required by the circumstances, including without limitation, that of a licensed medical physician and/or a hospital;
The power to authorize medical treatment or medical procedures in an emergency situation; and
The power to make appropriate decisions regarding clothing, bodily nourishment and shelter.
. APPLICABLE LAW. Any legal or equitable claim that may arise from participation in the above shall be resolved under law.
. NO DURESS. I agree and acknowledge that I am under no pressure or duress to sign this Agreement and that I have been given a reasonable opportunity to review it before signing. I further agree and acknowledge that I am free to have my own legal counsel review this Agreement if I so desire. I further agree and acknowledge that has offered to refund any fees I have paid to use its facilities if I choose not to sign this Agreement.
. ARM'S LENGTH AGREEMENT. This Agreement and each of its terms are the product of an arm's length negotiation between the Parties. In the event any ambiguity is found to exist in the interpretation of this Agreement, or any of its provisions, the Parties, and each of them, explicitly reject the application of any legal or equitable rule of interpretation which would lead to a construction either "for" or "against" a particular party based upon their status as the drafter of a specific term, language, or provision giving rise to such ambiguity. Accordingly, the Parties specifically reject the application of Cal. Civ. Code §1654 to this Agreement, as well as any other statute or common law principles of similar effect.
. ENFORCEABILITY. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of this Agreement, whether standing alone or as applied to a particular occurrence or circumstance, shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision of this Agreement or of any other applications of such provision, as the case may be, and such invalid or unenforceable provision shall be deemed not to be a part of this Agreement.
. EMERGENCY CONTACT. In case of an emergency, please call (Relationship: ) at (Day), or (Evening).
I HAVE READ THIS DOCUMENT AND UNDERSTAND IT. I FURTHER UNDERSTAND THAT BY SIGNING THIS RELEASE, I VOLUNTARILY SURRENDER CERTAIN LEGAL RIGHTS.
NOTICE TO THE MINOR CHILD'S NATURAL GUARDIAN
READ THIS FORM COMPLETELY AND CAREFULLY. YOU ARE AGREEING TO LET YOUR MINOR CHILD ENGAGE IN A POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS ACTIVITY. YOU ARE AGREEING THAT, EVEN IF THE RELEASEE USES REASONABLE CARE IN PROVIDING THIS ACTIVITY, THERE IS A CHANCE YOUR CHILD MAY BE SERIOUSLY INJURED OR KILLED BY PARTICIPATING IN THIS ACTIVITY BECAUSE THERE ARE CERTAIN DANGERS INHERENT IN THE ACTIVITY WHICH CANNOT BE AVOIDED OR ELIMINATED. BY SIGNING THIS FORM YOU ARE GIVING UP YOUR CHILD'S RIGHT AND YOUR RIGHT TO RECOVER FROM THE RELEASEE IN A LAWSUIT FOR ANY PERSONAL INJURY, INCLUDING DEATH, TO YOUR CHILD OR ANY PROPERTY DAMAGE THAT RESULTS FROM THE RISKS THAT ARE A NATURAL PART OF THE ACTIVITY. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO SIGN THIS FORM, AND THE RELEASEE HAS THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO LET YOUR CHILD PARTICIPATE IF YOU DO NOT SIGN THIS FORM.
By signing this document you may be waiving your legal right to a jury trial to hold the provider legally responsible for any injuries or damages resulting from risks inherent in the sport or recreational activity or for any injuries or damages you may suffer due to the provider's ordinary negligence that are the result of the provider's failure to exercise reasonable care.
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FAQs about making a Release of Liability
How do I use a Release of Liability form?
In many cases, you'll want to fill out your part of the agreement and print out numerous copies for your customers to fill out on-site. As an added layer of protection, you may benefit from checking IDs when they hand the form in to verify that they are of age and that they are who they say they are.
A Rocket Lawyer account also allows you to send the form directly to an email address, so they can sign online if needed. Online signing is a good option if you could benefit from sending out forms in advance of a large group activity.
How should I describe the potential risks within the waiver?
An accurate description of the risk involved may help if you should be challenged. This can help in two ways. The first is that it helps you if a patron is injured and your waiver is tested. It also helps educate the signer about the risks involved in the activity. The participant's signature on the Waiver shows that the participant was made aware of and acknowledged the risks.
What are the limitations of using a Release of Liability?
There are some injuries that a Release of Liability Waiver won't protect you from, namely negligence on your part. A Release of Liability does not prevent you from being sued, but it does shift some of the "burden of proof" reasonability to the injured party.
For example, if you run a rock climbing gym and a patron falls because one of your climbing holds became loose. You might have a hard time getting out of that one. However, if your guest didn't follow the rules and was running through the gym and tripped, you likely have a chance of fighting it if you can prove your case.
State laws vary on how strongly Waivers are enforced; you may want to ask a lawyer to review your Release before you start using it.
Does this waiver cover the Release of Liability for a sold vehicle?
No, it does not. This is not that type of release document. To obtain a Release of Liability for a vehicle you sold, visit your state's DMV webpage and fill one out online. If your state does not support online form submissions, you can usually download a copy from their website and mail or fax the copy to your state agency.
What information do I need to make a Release of Liability form?
To make your customized Release of Liability, you just need the following information:
Your personal or business contact information
Whether you want to include dispute resolution details, you can choose mediation, arbitration or mediation then arbitration
Participants contact information (can leave blank for them to fill out)
Emergency contact's phone number and relationship to the participant (can leave blank for them to fill out)
Rocket Lawyer can help you make a customized Release of Liability easily; you just answer a few questions in the document builder and then the form is created for you. Your Release of Liability can be edited, saved and shared online. It can also easily be printed or downloaded.
What kinds of businesses use Liability Waivers?
A wide range of businesses use Release of Liability Forms most commonly those that involve a physical activity, but other companies use them as well.
Physical activity. A volunteer organization or company that provides physical activities that could lead to injury often require participants (or their parents) to sign waivers. Activities may include dance classes, zip-lining, swimming, rock climbing, river rafting, batting cages, and more.
Travel. If you provide travel services, you may also want to require that your customers sign a waiver. Travel services may include travel planning, bus tours, walking tours, party buses, river cruises, and so on.
Events or festivals. Sometimes event organizers ask participants to sign a waiver. Events that often require participants to sign a Release of Liability include marathons, fun runs, bike races, festivals, sports tournaments, corporate team building events, and more.
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About Liability Releases
Learn how to limit your liability in case an injury occurs
How To Write a Release of Liability
The Release of Liability form (also known as a Liability Waiver form) is signed by a participant of some sort of activity, such as an outdoor event, an organized trip or an athletic event. The participant releases the operator or organization from liability for any injuries or damages which arise out of such participation. In addition, a parent or guardian can provide consent for his or her child to participate in the activity. Finally, the document gives the operator or organization temporary authority to seek medical treatment for minors should the need arise. This is especially important if the parent or guardian will not be going with his or her children to the activity (for example, sending a child on a chaperoned church youth trip).
Making a Release of Liability document and having event participants sign it may help protect you legally if an accident, injury, or other unfortunate incident occurs during your event. Here are the essential clauses in a Release of Liability.
Agreement to Follow Directions
An agreement to follow directions is really as simple as it sounds. It sets out that the individual signing the Release of Liability commits to following the rules, signs, and oral instructions provided to them. Many of these clauses also include a statement that they have received the instructions related to the activity. It also often sets out that they have read through them or had the opportunity to read through them.
The purpose of this clause is not only to call attention to posted warnings and instructions, but also to acknowledge that such directions exist.
Assumption of the Risks and Release
Virtually every activity has some risks. An assumption of the risk clause in the Release of Liability form acknowledges the risks associated with the activity in writing. It sets out that the person signing the document accepts the risks and assumes responsibility for taking on those risks. That responsibility includes any resulting injuries or damage caused by the activity.
The release language, or liability waiver, that is usually found in the assumption of the risk clause also sets out that the person signing the document releases whatever entity is sponsoring the activity from damages caused by the activity. The release provides that the release applies regardless of who is at fault for the accidents or injuries. This language is perhaps the most important portion of any Release of Liability form.
Indemnification is an agreement to reimburse another party for damages caused by a third party. In a Release of Liability, an indemnification agreement sets out that the person signing the document will reimburse the releasee (the entity providing the document) for any damage or injuries caused by the person signing the document (the releasor).
Fees in the context of a release of liability generally refer to damages and injuries that arise because of participation in an activity. It is usually only applicable if the person signing the release acts in a negligent, reckless, or willful manner.
In some states, the fee section will also set out that the person responsible for the undesirable conduct will pay the other party’s attorney fees in any legal dispute.
The consent section of a Release of Liability provides that the person signing the release allows the entity to use their photo or any film of them engaging in the activity. This provision is helpful if the releasee wants to use photos or videos for marketing material or other purposes. However, it is helpful to have consent language broad enough that it covers a wide range of potential uses.
Some Release of Liability forms provide permission to make arrangements to provide medical care to the person signing the form. They might also allow the entity requesting the release to know medical information that would otherwise be confidential in the event of an emergency.
A medical authorization is helpful to protect one party from accidentally violating confidentiality protections for medical information, especially in emergency situations.
The applicable law section of a release sets out which jurisdiction’s laws will apply to the contract. In most cases, the law where the activity takes place will apply.
However, you can name any other state’s law connected to the entity or the activity. For example, if the activity takes place in Colorado, but the home office of the entity that sponsors the activity is in Oregon, you might want to have Oregon law apply.
The applicable law section is where you should spell out which law applies. You can often also set out where any disputes regarding the release should be tried or otherwise resolved. This is generally referred to as a venue provision or forum selection clause.
Duress describes a situation where one party is forced or feels forced to do something, including signing an agreement. Duress usually comes in the form of threats or violence, but it can simply be unusually strong pressure as well.
A “no duress” clause in the Release of Liability acknowledges that the party signing the form was not under duress when the document was signed. They set out that they signed the document of their own free will, and it was their desire to sign the document. It might also confirm that they had the opportunity to review and read the release and understand its terms.
Arm's Length Agreement
An “arm’s length” agreement is an agreement between at least two unrelated parties. This clause in a release of liability is important because there are some states that base their contract interpretation, in part, on the relationship between the parties. If one party has an unfair advantage compared to the other, for example, the interpretation of the contract might be more in favor of the party that might not have as much negotiating power.
Some states also have rules regarding contract interpretation that interpret ambiguous contract clauses against the party that drafted the agreement. By stating that the parties are providing an arm’s length agreement and they both contributed to the development of the agreement, there is less likelihood that the court will interpret the agreement against any one party over the other.
In some situations, portions of an agreement might not be legally enforceable. This might happen for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the laws changed, or the laws in a particular state do not apply as you thought. In that situation, an enforceability clause will provide that if any part of the Release of Liability is unenforceable, then the remainder of the contract will still be enforceable.
Dispute resolution refers to informal means to address disagreements about the release document. Dispute resolution can include things like informal discussions (or meetings), arbitration, or mediation.
You can also include litigation (a lawsuit) as a dispute method as well. However, the parties generally have the right to litigate issues with the release regardless of whether you include litigation in your agreement.
Emergency contact information simply sets out the name and contact details of someone who should be contacted in case of an emergency. There generally is no legal significance to this section of the liability waiver form, but having this information immediately in an emergency can be extremely helpful.
Notice to the Minor Child's Natural Guardian
This section applies specifically to parents or guardians permitting their minor child to engage in certain activities. It sets out that the guardian is aware that the activity is potentially dangerous and allows their minor child to engage in it regardless of the danger. It also provides specific language that conveys to parents that by signing the release, they are giving up their right to sue the entity and their child’s right to sue the entity.
In some circumstances, this notice is required by law. It might also be required to be set out in a particular section and font in the Release of Liability form.
Definitions of Release of Liability Terms
Arm’s Length Agreement
“Arm’s length” describes a transaction involving two more parties completely unrelated and unaffiliated with one another. These parties act completely in their own interests.
Consent is granting permission for something to happen.
Dispute resolution is a term used to describe a method of resolving legal disagreements without making any formal filings with a court (a lawsuit). Examples of dispute resolution include mediation and arbitration.
Actions (often threats, violence, or constraints) that essentially force one person to do something against their will or desire.
This is a contractual agreement for one party (the indemnitor) to reimburse or compensate the other party for losses caused by the indemnitor.
Liability in the legal context means being responsible for an action or another person, either based on law or contract.
A legal release terminates liability between two or more parties. A release discharges the right of action one person or entity has against another for injuries or damages.
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