Why You Shouldn't Copy Online Waiver Templates
If you've been following our blog, you already know that liability waivers are essential for protecting your organization from litigation. But for some, drafting a professional and enforceable waiver can feel like a challenge. After all, not everyone is a writer - much less a legal writer. And trying to craft a legitimate document that works for your business may be overwhelming.
In the digital age, information is readily available at your fingertips. While finding a generic waiver template online might be easy and convenient, there are myriad reasons why you shouldn't. We've outlined a few in the guide below.
3 Reasons You Should Never Use Generic Waiver Language
1. It May Not Be Enforceable
Because a waiver is only as enforceable as the language used within it, copying language that wasn't created for your unique business or circumstances can leave you vulnerable. There are numerous reasons a waiver may be unenforceable. For instance, if a minor signs without parental consent, if the signer doesn't speak the language waiver is written in, or if the waiver is unconscionable. Without having an attorney review it beforehand, you may not see potential red flags before asking your guests to sign it, which can result in costly liability issues down the road.
2. It May Not Be Suitable For Your Industry
When completing a liability waiver, it's not uncommon for individuals to scan the contents before moving to the bottom to sign. While waiver language may appear generic, it's not one-size-fits-all. Every business presents unique opportunities for risk. The language protecting a ziplining experience may not cover inherent dangers at a day spa, summer camp, or tattoo shop. Finding a waiver in your same industry might bring you closer to the mark, but there are still opportunities to overlook concerns that are specific to your business.
3. It May Not Be Legal in Your State
Every state has its own laws and regulations surrounding liability waivers. Using legal language intended for a waiver in a state with different laws than your own can render your waiver void or unenforceable. Always work with an attorney or legal counsel in your state to ensure your waiver adheres to local and industry-specific ordinances and risks.
Tips for Crafting a Liability Waiver
You may be asking yourself, "if copying a generic liability waiver is out of the question, what should I use?" Our best advice is to always work with a licensed attorney and/or insurance provider. This will assure you're operating within your legal rights and protect you from litigation if a guest is injured on your property.
In general, all liability releases should include:
- Releasor (the participant): Name, address, contact information.
- Releasee (you, the organization): Name, address, contact information.
- Effective Date: (The date the document was signed.)
- Acknowledgment of Potential Risk: Depending on your industry, this may include bodily or personal injury, property damage, illness, or death.
- Assumption of Risk: Participants should agree to assume all reasonable risks involved in the event or activity.
- Insurance: Notify participants that your insurance will not cover injuries, illnesses, or death unless otherwise noted. If applicable, participants should assume responsibility for any medical bills if an injury occurs.
- Confirmation of Review: Identify that the participant has completed and understands the document, is signing of their own free will, and has not been coerced.
- Signature(s): Provide room for signatures for adults and spaces for minors participating with parental consent.
Once you've drafted your release form, put your waivers to work. Smartwaiver turns your paper waivers into digital smart waivers that your guests can access online from your website, email, mobile kiosk, or smartphone. Digital waivers eliminate the need for costly paper, printers, and filing systems, storing your documents safely in our state-of-the-art Waiver Vault. Here, you can quickly search, sort, categorize or run powerful reports that help you drive your marketing initiatives.
View our features to learn more about Smartwaiver, or try it hands-on, completely free for 30 days -- We won't even ask for your credit card!