A release of liability form refers to an agreement between your company and a client, participant, or customer. When your clients sign this form, they consent that they comprehend and accept all the risks related to the activity. The customers also give up their rights to file liability claims against your business for any injuries sustained from the activity.
A release of liability is meant to limit the number of negligence lawsuits filed by customers against your company. Your liability insurer might demand that you utilize them as a form of providing insurance. These release forms assist in heading off costly lawsuits, which means you should consider utilizing them even if they are not needed by your insurer.
Types of Release of Liability Forms
General Release Form
General Release forms are mostly used when an individual is generally renouncing all unknown and known claims against another person. This form can cover general claims that are often filed in most dispute cases. A general release is detailed and flexible enough to handle many situations.
Car Accident Release Form
When it comes to automobile accidents, the individuals involved in the accident might opt to use this document to consent not to sue each other. The injured party or the owner of the damaged car can decide to renounce liability from the future compensation for the traffic collision in return for the payment agreed upon by the person that caused the collision instead of going to court.
Mutual Release Form
Unlike a general release form, a Mutual Release document is used when the two parties involved give up all the future and past claims against each another. In most instances, the dispute is usually over a broken agreement in which both parties believe that the other is liable. The two parties involved can utilize this document to agree to withdraw from the agreement on their provisions rather than involving themselves in a long and costly legal process.
Participation in an Activity or Event Waiver
This document is often used by entertainment and event companies that compel their clients to give up any future claims against the owner or organizer for personal injuries which might occur. These forms are common when participating in some activities such as sports leagues, paintball, and many other athletic events.
Release for Personal Injury
This form can be utilized for personal injury cases in which the injured individual agrees not to go to court in exchange for an agreed-upon compensation of money. Personal injuries can either be psychological or physical.
Damage to Property Waiver
This form is used when real properties such as a building and land, or personal property such as jewelry or movable assets get damaged and the parties involved decide to settle their dispute without going to court. Before compensating someone for any property damages that you’ve caused, ensure that you fill this form to prevent the owner of the property from asking you for more cash later.
Example of Businesses That Should Use Release Form
Many businesses use release of liability documents, especially those that involve some physical activities. However, other organizations use them as well including:
If you offer travel services, you might require your clients to sign a waiver. Some of the travel services might include bus tours, party buses, walking tours, river cruises, travel planning, and many others.
Festivals or Events
At times event organizers might ask all participants to sign waivers. Some of the events that mostly require participants to sign the release of liability forms include sports tournaments, fun runs, marathons, bike races, corporate team building events, festivals, and many others.
Companies that provide physical activities that might lead to injuries, often require the parents or participants to sign waivers. Such activities include zip-lining, swimming, dance classes, rock climbing, batting cages, river rafting, and many others.
Other Names of Release of Liability Form
A Release of Liability document is also known as:
- Hold Harmless Form
- Conditional and Unconditional Waiver Form
- Release Agreement
- Release Form
- Waiver of Liability
- Liability Waiver
- Liability Release
- General Waiver
Basic Contents of Release of Liability Form
A general release of liability form should cover the following information:
- Releasee and releasor names and contact information
- Type of liability release
- Details about the incident which took place or dispute. In case of activities waiver, you should include details about the activities that will be happening.
- The compensation details including type of compensation and amount.
Components of a Liability Form
To make this form, you only need to enter the following information:
- Your business or personal contact information
- The contact information of all participants
- Emergency contact’s phone number
- Relationship to the participants
- Whether you would like to include resolution details to the dispute, you can choose arbitration, mediation, or mediation followed by arbitration.
Sample Release of Liability Forms
Release of Liability Form Templates
Limitations of Release of Liability Form
There are some things that a release form will not protect you from, such as an injury due to negligence on your side. A waiver of liability doesn’t prevent you from getting sued, but it shifts some burden of proof responsibility to the injured person. For instance, if you manage a rock mounting gym and one of your customers fall because one of your step holds was loose. You can have a difficult time escaping from that one. But if your client did not follow the set rules and was running across the facility and tripped, you might probably get an opportunity of fighting it as long as you can prove your case. However, state laws often vary depending on how firmly waivers are enforced. As a result, you should consider asking an attorney to assess your release form before you begin using it.
Risks of not Using Release of Liability Form
Without a written release or waiver, both the releasee and releasor face the possibility of dragging out disagreements between them or being summoned to a court of law. Here are some of the potential consequences that a release form can prevent:
- Lost Time – there is a lot of time lost fighting legal battles rather than building your business.
- Lost Money – a lot of money is used to pay for legal fees used in defending lawsuits and for compensation as well.
- Mental Agony – there is a fear of organizing or holding another event or festival in the future.
- Lost Time – there are prolonged arguments between lawyers in courtrooms instead of quick settlements
- Lost Money – you will incur costs to repair the damaged property or pay for medical bills before the court cases are concluded.
- Mental Anxiety – you get anxiety because the issue takes a long time to get settled in the courtroom.
A release form will only have value to your organization if it’s enforced. Remember that the laws about releases often vary from state to state. Some states usually enforce releases since they are written while others will only enforce them if they meet specific requirements and a few of them do not enforce releases at all.
While the laws about releases differ by state, your release of liability is more likely to get enforced if you adhere to some basic guidelines. To start with, ensure that your release form is properly worded. The document should be written in a clear and unambiguous language which complies with the law of your state.
In general, the activity’s location will typically determine the state’s law which will apply. If you are not conversant with how the law usually applies in your state, then you can ask your lawyer for an explanation to avoid any mistakes.