If you are starting or operating a business in which clients are inherently at risk when participating in an activity sponsored by or on the property of your business, you will need a release of liability form.
You may have heard these forms called by other names:
- Release of liability form
- Liability waiver
- Hold harmless form
- Release form
These are substantially the same thing: a legally binding document that educates your clients about the potential risk they face but which releases your company from potential liability.
However, you and your clients may have some misconceptions about what a release of liability is and is not. Not all liability waivers are enforceable, and a release of liability may not mean what you think it means (to quote Inigo Montoya).
What Is a Release of Liability Form?
As we stated earlier, it is a legally binding document meant to educate your client and protect you. You may only need one to satisfy a requirement for obtaining business insurance, but it is a good business practice to have one as part of your risk management program if you conduct a potentially dangerous activity or have substantial interaction with the public.
A signed release of liability waives the rights of the signatory to make a liability claim if he or she is injured. The form is supposed to limit the number of negligence cases filed by clients against your business.