A Release of Liability Form is defined as a legal contract used by two parties. One party relinquishes their entitlement to legal action against the other party who is potentially liable for risk or claim.
This form can be used between individual-individual, individual-business, and business-individual. The release of liability form will typically be effective over a specified activity and does not cover liabilities resulting from acts of negligence.
In some cases, the release has to make a payment or meet certain terms or conditions for the form to remain valid. Once both parties have agreed to the form, it should be signed by the party “releasing” their legal or financial claims to be valid. After the signing, the release is in no way obligated to the releasor, and the releasor has no other recourse to reclaim the “released” rights or claims.
Note: A hold harmless agreement is a clause added to legal documentation by organizations or individuals to protect themselves from injury and damage claims that might happen to the party signing the agreement.
A release of liability is alternatively referred to as;
- Liability Release Form
- Liability Waiver
- General Release of Liability Form
- Hold Harmless Agreement
- Waiver of Liability
- Conditional and Unconditional Waiver Form
- Waiver of Liability Agreement
- Conditional and Unconditional Waiver Form
- General Waiver
- Legal Release
- Liability Waiver Form
- General Waiver
- Release form
- Liability Waiver Form
Release of Liability Form Template
Parties Involved In the Process
The release of liability form binds two parties – the releaser and the release. These two are explained as:
- The releasor: The releaser is the party that promises not to sue the other party or claim for compensation for the specified incident or if the specified incident occurs in the future.
- The releasee: The release is the party being exempted from any legal or financial obligation for the specified incident or which may happen in the future. The releasee may have to pay a certain amount or meet certain conditions to be exempted from that liability.
Types of Protections
A waiver of liability form will primarily offer two types of protection – legal and financial. The releasor cannot ask for financial compensation or take legal action against the release. In addition, the releasor enjoys protection by the document in that they are also not financial or legally tied or obligated to the releasee once it has signed.
Types of the Release of Liability Forms
There are different types of release of liability forms for a wide range of situations. The different types of release forms will offer different protections ordinarily applicable to a specific type of situation.
The most common types of release of liability forms are:
When to Use a Release of Liability Form?
A release of liability form is utilized in different situations where one party can give up their privilege to legal and financial claims, or the other does not want to be accountable to specific liability. Often these will be when dealing with products, services, or activities that come with a particular risk or uncertainty. The form can be used as a stand-alone document or as part of a contract.
Some everyday situations where a release of liability is used include:
- Selling a vehicle. The buyer exempts the seller from any future obligations to the vehicle through the release of liability form.
- Resolving car accidents. The at-fault party will ask for the release form exempting him or her from future liabilities associated with the accident before compensating for injuries and damages.
- Hiring contractors
- Terminating an employee. The employee signs the liability release form to absolve the employer from future legal and financial liabilities in the future.
- Information releases such as medical, employment, or financial records transfer
- Releasing a lien. Contractors will usually be required to submit a liability waiver before a client pays them. The form signifies no subcontractors have been unpaid and cannot, therefore, have a claim to the property.
- Getting out of any high-risk situation. Parties who can potentially be sued due to the risk involved in coordinating activities will often use release forms to protect themselves. Examples of activities with high-risk sports like rating, driving ranges, etc.
A release of liability form is also familiar with travel agencies and introducing products that have not been officially approved. It is then recommended that a consultant be hired to assess risks associated with a given activity, goods or, service to utilize the release form effectively and feasibly.
How to Write a Release of Liability Form
A release of liability form should be detailed and specific to avoid misrepresentation of risks and misinterpretation of liabilities. Therefore, the more detailed it is, the more airtight and effective the document is. Fundamentally, when creating a release form, include all the following components:
The release form should be dated. Therefore, first, supply the effective date of the agreement. This will usually be the date when the form was created. However, it can be the date when the agreement is meant to be officially effective.
Next, identify the parties bound by the liability release form. State the legal names of the releasor and the releasee. If the party is a person, their first, middle, and last name should be stated. If the party is an entity, provide the appropriate suffix such as Ltd, LLC, Corp, etc. Then the addresses of each party should be supplied.
After the parties have been identified, a detailed description of the liability event or activity in question should be given. Next, declare the actions, behaviors, or practices the releasee’s consequences won’t be liable for under the release form. Finally, the liability event should be exhaustively discussed such that after the execution of the release form, no party will be obligated to fulfill any obligations regarding the event.
The document then declares if there will be any payments made before its execution. Some situations will necessitate compensation while others won’t – indicate accordingly. If a payment is required, clearly state the exact amount that the releasee will have to pay. In other situations, the requirement can be any other transactions such as (in)action or transfer of a valuable item to the releasor. Again, the exact requirements should be specified.
Next, indicate the jurisdiction under which the release of liability form will be enforced. Finally, indicate the state whose laws govern the execution of the document.
The release form should then outline any additional provisions applicable to the agreement in place. Some of these provisions include:
- Assumption of risk: A provision that stipulates that the releasor understands the risks associated with a particular event but is still willing to participate in the event despite the probable risk. Risks could be potential injuries, loss of something valuable, etc.
- Insurance: An insurance provision indicates that the person signing the document is solely responsible for their own medical and life insurance.
- Medical treatment: Accidents that can cause further harm to patients can happen during treatment; a medical treatment provision is then used to ascertain that the patient won’t sue the medical practitioner or facility in case of such an event.
- Modifications: The release of liability form directs that all modifications or changes to the release form must be in writing.
- No admission: A no admission provision is added to a release of liability form to specify that the release form is not an admission to any wrongdoing.
- Parent or guardian signature: A guardian provision is added to the release form meant for minors (below 18 years of age) who are not legally eligible to sign any contract on their own.
- Photographic release: The release of liability form can have a photographic release provision that indicates an event attendant or participant’s consent to their images or videos being used in association with the event.
- Right to the attorney: A right of attorney provision stipulates that either party mentioned in the release form was awarded an opportunity to consult with their legal counsel when deciding whether to sign the document. By signing the document, the releasor agrees that an attorney was consulted prior.
- Severable: A severable provision is added as a contingency for any defects in the agreement. By including this provision, it is interpreted that if even if a portion of the release form is found to be invalid, the rest of the document remains valid and enforceable.
- Witness or notary: Release of liability forms can be witnessed or notarized. A witness or notary provision can then be added where the selected third party can sign.
Lastly, ensure the release form is legally binding by indicating the signatories to the document. The releasor supplies their signature and indicates the date when they signed the form before indicating their name. The releasee then provides their name, signature, and date of signing accordingly.
Steps to Obtain a Release of Liability Form
Obtaining a release of liability form is a simple process that makes it convenient for urgent situations. The process of getting a release form can be summarized into three steps discussed below:
Begin with determining the legal requirements of using a liability waiver in the applicable state. Depending on the state, the legal requirements for preparing and utilizing a release form will vary. For example, a release form should be provided when selling a vehicle in some states like Florida, California, and Texas. In other states, it does not have to be signed to be legally enforceable.
Draft a release of liability form
Once all the legal requirements have been determined, prepare the release form under the state’s law requirements. The use of a release of liability template is acceptable, as well as creating one. The releasor and the releasee then review the contract and determine if it is acceptable.
Execute and sign
Lastly, if the implementation of the release form requires that some terms and conditions be met, they should be fulfilled before or at the time of signing the document. Once signed, the document is valid and legally enforceable.
Release of Liability of Transfer for Selling a Car
When selling a vehicle is one of the most common applications of a release form. This is because the seller technically remains the liable owner of the vehicle until the official transfer of the vehicle’s title and registration.
The release form transfers these obligations to the buyer before the DMV processes are completed. In most cases, the release form has to indicate the vehicle identification number, odometer reading, and sale date to prove their ownership of the vehicle.
However, the requirement of the liability waiver form depends on the state; in California, car sellers have to fill out a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability Form, while in Idaho, sellers have to complete a Notice of Release of liability.
Risks of not Using a Liability Form
Not using a liability has certain risks and consequences to the releasor and releasee. Primarily, the consequences or risks of not using a liability form are as follows:
- Litigation: If the form is not used to resolve a dispute, there is always a probability of people suing for claims to things that happened in the past. A liability form offers a relative layer or wall of protection from such lawsuits.
- Loss of time: Solving disputes can take too long. Using a liability form can help two disputing parties in resolving issues out of court.
- Loss of money: Lawsuits are expensive; by avoiding them with liability forms, the costly process of solving the matter in court is resolved. Since lawsuits take time, this might result in a lot of expenses dealing with injuries and damages.
- A release of liability form is an effective tool for resolving disputes, unlike the court process, which in most cases takes a significant amount of time to handle the issue.
- Liability waiver forms can be used to resolve the most common disputes. They are used in interpersonal, inter-business, and business-person disputes.
- A release form will outline the effective date, the releasor, releasee, liability event, consideration/payment, jurisdiction, additional provisions, and binding effect.
- Release of liability forms are legally enforceable and should be written in a detailed and precise manner. However, it doesn’t have to be overly legal, for it must be understood by the parties using it.