Release of Liability Form

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A Release of Liability Form (ROL) dictates that the party participating will not hold the organization responsible for things like personal injury, death, or loss of property. In particular, the ROL protects one party from legal responsibilities associated with physical risk. However, parties should take care to protect all activity participants as release forms do not typically protect a party from negligent behavior. To fill out a release of liability online, select your state and click the green button above.

Legal Forms Related to a Release of Liability

  • Hold Harmless Agreement: A hold harmless agreement is generally a clause in a legal document that stipulates an organization or individual is not legally liable for injuries or damages that could happen to the individual signing the document.

  • Photo Release Form: A photo release form grants an organization the right to use an individual's likeness in photography. 

  • Model Release Form: A model release form provides a photographer the right's to the use of a model's likeness in his or her photography. 

  • Waiver: A waiver waives an individual's claim against an individual or organization for participating in any agreed-upon activity. 

  • Medical Liability Waiver: A waiver that waives an individual's claim against an individual or organization for participating in an agreed-upon medical procedure.

What is a Release of Liability?

A release of liability, commonly referred to as a waiver of reliability, a release form, a liability release form, an assumption of risk form, a hold harmless agreement, or legal release, is a legal document between two parties, referenced as the Releasor and the Releasee. Put simply, it's an agreement not to sue if the person or business involved in a risky activity that's offered is somehow hurt or is subjected to some form of damage.

You can download a blank, printable release of liability template for free here.

When Should You Use a Release of Liability Form? 

Think about activities, products, or services that could harm participants. These include any physically taxing or potentially dangerous activity, such as a sports game or traveling as well as any product or service not yet officially approved, be it a new cheese spread or an experimental airplane. If necessary, work with a consultant who specializes in determining risk. This can be very beneficial in helping you determine how to use this agreement.

What Are the Protections that Release of Liability Forms Can Provide?

Here are the most common protections that various release of liability forms can provide:

Here are the most common protections that various release of liability forms can provide:

  • General Release: One party forfeits (or “releases”) all known and unknown legal claims against another party.

  • Mutual Release: Both parties release the other from all known and unknown legal liability, past and present. In this case, each party is simultaneously both a Releasor and Releasee.

  • Car Accident Release: Used in incidents involving automobile accidents, as the name indicates. This is essentially a more specialized version of a General or Mutual Release. Here, one or both parties agrees not to sue the other for damages (known and unknown) associated with the wreck in question. Typically, monetary payment is made from the party at fault to the other in exchange for the release.

  • Property Damage Waiver: These waivers are common when real estate (e.g. home, apartment, or office) property or personal property (e.g. automobile, jewelry, antiques, furniture, musical instruments) are damaged. Typically, the party responsible for the damage pays the owner an agreed-upon amount of money in exchange for the release. This prohibits future legal action or requests for more financial restitution.

  • Waiver for Participation in an Event or Activity: Have you ever been skydiving, riding in a hot air balloon, gone bungee jumping, or driven a race car? If so, you probably signed a waiver of release promising not to file a lawsuit against the business providing the experience if you’re hurt. Waivers for participation are most common in entertainment and tourist industries where experiences offered to come with some risk of bodily injury or even death.

What Are the Risks of Not Using a Release of Liability?

Without entering into a release of liability, you can open yourself or your business to a host of unwanted or unnecessary litigation. Although you might incur upfront costs for creating, disseminating, and signing a release of liability, by doing so you will be protecting yourself and your business from a litany of legal battles and legal fees in the near term and future. 

While a release of liability gives you a potential layer of protection, it doesn't protect you. Rather, it just makes it the client's responsibility to prove that they weren’t warned about the possibility and the degree of risk. The release of liability also alerts the signee that they want to participate in a potentially risky endeavor. This is why you must include all possible types of harm in your ROL wording.

Using a Release of Liability and Notice of Transfer for Selling a Car

When you sell your car, you are technically still the owner of the vehicle until the title and registration are officially transferred. In some states, like California, a waiver or release is required when you sell your car to transfer legal liability for the vehicle while the DMV processes the change in title and registration. 

Many waivers require you to provide odometer reading, vehicle identification number, and the vehicle sale date of the used vehicle. This is important because it allows the new owner to prove that they now own the motor vehicle. Below are the California DMV's two notice of transfer and release of liability pages:

Guide to Waivers and Release of Liability

This guide is designed to provide you with all of the pertinent information regarding releases of legal liability. Whether you are acting as the releasor or the releasee, this guide will walk you through what releases of liability are, what to include if you have to craft one, the most common types of releases, and the risks of not using one.

Misconceptions about Liability Waivers

There are many common misconceptions about these releases. While some people believe that using a simple release found online doesn’t provide a business with any protection, others believe a signed liability waiver form offers a business total “bulletproof” protection even if it is found online. Neither of these beliefs is true. So, what can a signed liability waiver form do for a business?

State Laws & Protective Clauses in Release of Liability Forms

How well a waiver works to protect a business depends upon many factors. 

  • The first is the set-up of the form. Additional protective clauses may be included.

    • These include, but are not limited to, disclaimers, indemnification agreements, informed consent agreements, and covenants not to sue. Including the clauses that apply to your business may provide maximum protection in the event of an accident or injury.

  • The second important consideration is your state’s laws. It’s important to find, read, and understand your state’s laws to determine the legal requirements to create a waiver. You may find it beneficial to talk with an attorney because the laws vary so drastically from state to state. 

    • For example, a waiver is almost always enforced in Alabama. However, they are never enforced in Louisiana or Virginia. Several states sometimes enforce them, states that often (but won’t always) enforce them, and states that usually don’t enforce them.

Regardless of which state you live in, it is important to make sure that the fee waiver you use includes a few key components. When these documents fail in states that tend to support them, it’s often because they are poorly written. As with any legal document, the waiver form you use must be written and comprehensive.

While it’s important to include the right provisions in your waiver, there’s something important you must know. It cannot and will not protect you or your business for all accidents or incidents. Nearly every state declines to support a waiver through which the business seeks protection from their (or their agent’s) gross negligence or reckless conduct. How your state defines both gross negligence or reckless conduct is something to consider.

Parental Waivers

There is also some concern over whether or not waivers signed by minors or signed for minors by a parent/guardian may be enforced. Fortunately for recreation-focused businesses, many states enforce parental waivers. It’s important to understand how a parent signing a waiver for a minor is handled in your state so you know how or if one will protect your business.

Download a PDF or Word Template

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Sample Release of Liability

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Sample Release of Liability

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