Whether you're providing zipline adventures for thrill seekers or dance classes for kids, the release of liability waiver is a requisite tool meant to protect your organization from litigation in the event of an accident or injury.
While liability waivers are a fundamental safeguard for service and experience providers, nobody really wants to talk about them. Why? Because, while vital, these documents don't scream "fun." They remind your participants that risk is involved, and in some cases, may cause them to second guess an activity. But just because they're not exciting doesn't mean they're not necessary. Ensuring your business is protected from liability is essential for long-term success and sustainability, especially for those providing high-risk experiences.
So, how do you capture these all-important documents while still providing a quality customer experience?Drafting a Great Liability Waiver
While necessary, release of liability waivers may be off putting for participants. After all, they're designed to protect you, the organization, rather than the party signing. And though the wording you use is essential for ensuring you're covered from a range of incidents, choosing concise language that's easy for your patrons to digest can expedite the signing process without overwhelming them.
The internet is full of waiver templates that can be easily copied for general purposes. While convenient and often free, generic templates don't offer the same protection as one drafted with your industry or organization in mind. Liability waivers exist for myriad uses, ranging from events and incidents to photo and video releases. Unless you fully understand the language used within the document, you may be vulnerable to loopholes that could render your agreement non-binding.
Tips For Crafting a Bullet-Proof Waiver:
In general, all liability releases should include:
In industries like adventure tours, athletics, or skydiving experiences, a level of danger is generally assumed by individuals going in. In other enterprises, such as salons, tattoo shops, and pet care facilities, you may not realize the risk potential, exposing yourself to liability for unforeseen incidents.
In general, businesses that work closely with customers to provide a service or experience may benefit from a liability release. An attorney or insurance agent familiar with your industry, as well as your state and local laws, can help determine the best course of action.
Like many organizations, you may rely on paper release forms. They can be easily passed out to your patrons before an event or activity, filled in with a pen, then returned to your staff for safekeeping.
But handling an extensive number of forms can be daunting. From organization and storage to determining when it's safe to discard them, managing your documents long-term can be challenging.
Sure, paper waivers have long been the standard. But just because they're the norm doesn't mean they're the best.
Digital waivers are the contemporary answer to an age-old question:
"How do I provide a fast, efficient, and convenient user-experience in an easy-to-manage format?"
Like paper releases, digital waivers are legally-binding documents that patrons sign, agreeing to release your organization from liability in the event of an accident or injury. However, unlike paper documents, these digital forms are stored on the cloud and your local hard drive, making them easier to deliver to your participants and reference down the road.
Digital release forms are accessible through smart devices, such as online kiosks, tablets, computers, and smartphones both on and offline. They not only eliminate the need for paper documents, but they also provide valuable insights, such as information on the number of participants using your services each day and the ability to quickly search for a signed waiver by name, date, or specific criteria.
Advances in technology have made it possible to upgrade from even the most venerable forms of technology. With the rise of laptops, tablets, and smartphones, the once-revolutionary desktop computer is a relative paperweight.
Think of what the typewriter meant for those who spent their days putting pen to paper. But you wouldn't use a typewriter to run a Fortune 500 corporation. So, why depend on a sheet of paper that can easily become lost or damaged to defend your organization from liability?
While you may rarely have to look for a release once it's signed, digital liability agreements resolve the need to dig through hundreds, or even thousands, of paper documents trying to find the needle in the haystack.
Digital waivers remove the legwork, so you can focus on what you do best — providing excellent experiences for your customers.
For more information on the implementation of digital waivers for your business, check out the following resources: