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A release of liability dictates that the party participating will not hold the organization responsible for things like personal injury, death, or loss of property.

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Release of Liability: What Is It?

A release of liability is used in many different scenarios, such as sporting events, organized trips, or other risky activities. This agreement dictates that the party participating will not hold the organization responsible for things like personal injury, death, or loss of property. A release of liability form can help an organization or business from being sued if something were to go wrong.

In order to be valid, a release of liability must be signed and dated. It should include the names of both parties. A copy of the release of liability form should be kept by the participant as well as the person or organization sponsoring the event.

Having a release of liability form available for your company is very important. If you need a release of liability form, you will want to check the regulations for your state. Ensure that you include all the required information so that your release form is valid.

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What Is A Release Of Liability?

A release of liability (ROL), or a waiver, is a form that legally protects an individual or company in the case of an incident. The incident could be as serious as a death or permanent injury, or as trivial as a ripped shirt. In all legal institutions, especially in the US, lawsuits are about as common as cheap suits. It is therefore essential, in certain situations, to have a waiver in place.

When do I need a hold harmless agreement?
Think about activities, products or services which could harm participants. These include any physically taxing or potentially dangerous activity, such as a sports game or an outward bound trip, as well as any product or service not yet officially approved, be it a new cheese spread or an experimental airplane. .Keep in mind that “harm” does not only mean fatal injury. If a celebrity sponsor is wearing an historically important diamond necklace, and that necklace snaps, that can do as much legal damage as a fourth-degree burn. Be sure you cover all your bases.

So, as long as my clients sign a release of liability, am I safe?
Nope, sorry. A release of liability gives you a layer of protection, but it doesn't altogether negate the possibility of a lawsuit. It just makes it the client's responsibility to prove that he or she was not warned about the possibility and the degree of risk. The Release of Liability also alerts the signee that he or she is about to partake in a potentially risk endeavor. This is why it's essential that you include all possible types of harm in your ROL wording (see below).

Components of a Liability Waiver

Every schoolchild has had experience with liability waivers. Those pieces of paper that students have to have signed by their parents before every field trip serve a very important function. They indemnify the school from legal responsibility, known as liability, in the event of an incident resulting in damages to the schoolchild. Liability waiver forms are everywhere. Whether shooting a movie or joining a climbing gym, businesses or otherwise legally responsible persons often use a free liability waiver to communicate that participants are responsible for their own actions and the possible hazards associated with them.


Formally, a waiver or release of liability is a legal document in which a person or party voluntarily gives up a right in a contractual agreement . A waiver form has several components: activity, party information, release of liability type, participant information, emergency contacts, and whether the participant is a minor.

Liability waivers are specific to a particular activity, which must be clearly described within the form. This means that if a party causes damage through an action that is far outside the usual boundaries of the activity, then that party remains wholly liable for both the action and it’s consequences. For example, if a release of liability is signed for a student going on a field trip to the zoo and a teacher strikes that student while on the bus, then the teacher is the responsible party for any damage incurred, despite the release.

The party information concerns the person being released from liability and usually includes their name and address. It may also include contact information such as phone or email. The participant information concerns the person releasing the party of legal responsibility for the activity. It contains similar specific information as with the party. The release of liability type simply refers to whether the form has been made specifically for the occasion or if it is a universal template .  The participant cannot sign away liability unless the party and activity are clearly and explicitly marked in the form. Many states require sections of the liability waiver to be written in conspicuous font so that it grabs the reader's attention.

By its nature, a liability waiver usually concerns a risky activity and therefore must also include at least one emergency contact for each participant. The name and phone number of the contact will always be identified on a free waiver form. Some free liability waivers will identify the contact’s relationship to the participant. Some may include alternative contact methods such as additional phone numbers or an email address. Finally the liability waiver contains a clause pertaining to whether the participant is a minor. Minors do not have the legal right to relinquish their liability. That power falls to a parent or primary caretaker, known as a guardian. 

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