Release of Liability (Waiver) (2023)

Use a Release of Liability (Waiver) Form to prevent a company or individual from being sued in the event of an accident. This document will protect you in a legal dispute on all civil claims. It’s a good idea to fill out a waiver before or after performing activities that could expose you to legal action.

This form is alternatively used when an accident like a car wreck or property damage has already occurred. Instead of going through an expensive lawsuit, both parties agree to settle the dispute.

Table of Contents
  • Types of Release of Liability Forms
  • What is a Release of Liability Form?
    • Consequences of Not Using a Waiver
    • The Most Common Liability Situations
  • What Should be Included in a Release of Liability Form?
    • Release of Liability Form When Selling a Car
  • How to Write a Release of Liability
  • Free Release of Liability Sample
  • Release of Liability FAQs

Types of Release of Liability Forms

A release or waiver is often needed before or after an incident occurs. Organizations or people may be concerned about being taken to court by someone who accidentally gets injured while attending an event or activity they will be sponsoring. Alternatively, this form is used when an accident like a car wreck or property damage has already occurred. Instead of going through an expensive lawsuit, both parties agree to settle the dispute out of court.

Here are six types of Release of Liability Waiver templates that we offer.

What is a Release of Liability Form?

A Release of Liability Form or Waiver of Liability Agreement is a legal agreement between two parties — the Releasor or person promising not to sue — and the Releasee or person or company potentially liable. By signing this waiver form, the Releasor acknowledges that they understand the risks and claims and agrees not to sue the Releasee for past or future injuries or damages.

A simple release of liability form will identify the following essential elements:

  • Releasor: a person who promises not to sue or take any legal action against the owner or organizer of the event or activity being attended
  • Releasee: owner or organizer of the event or activity who is at risk of being sued
  • Effective Date: when the agreement shall take effect
  • Event: description of event, action, or circumstances being held
  • Consideration: the amount of money, promised (in)action, or something of legal value in return for signing the document. [1]
  • Governing Law: any disagreements will be resolved using the laws of one state

This form can document a person’s consent to be photographed, filmed, or recorded in a public event or activity. You can also use a separate Photo Release Form.

As a reference, people call this document by other names:

  • Conditional and Unconditional Waiver Form
  • GeneralWaiver
  • Legal Release
  • Liability Waiver Form
  • Waiver of Liability Agreement

If you still don’t know if a Release of Liability Waiver is for you, here are some pros and cons of using this form:

Consequences of Not Using a Waiver

Without a written waiver, everyone faces the possibility of being summoned to court or dragging out a disagreement over who owes what.

Here are just a few of the possible consequences that this formcan prevent:

Lost Time
  • extended argument involving attorneys in the courtroom instead of a fast settlement
Lost Time
  • time spent fighting legal battles instead of building business
Lost Money
  • unpaid medical bills or cost to fix the property damage
Lost Money
  • legal fees to defend lawsuits and pay for damages caused
Mental Anguish
  • prolonged problem hanging over your head
Mental Anguish
  • fear of organizing another event in the future

The Most Common Liability Situations

These are some of the most common situations in which you may use a Waiver form:

General ReleaseGeneral Release
  • Employee
  • Employer
  • Vendor or supplier
  • Business owner
  • Mutual ReleaseMutual Release
  • Business partner
  • Business partner
  • Buyer in a voided contract
  • Seller in a voided contract
  • Car AccidentCar Accident
  • Driver or Passenger in a Car Accident
  • Driver or Passenger in a Car Accident
  • Damage to Property Damage to Property
    ClientService Provider
  • Damaged living room
  • Construction company
  • Yard destroyed
  • Landscaping business
  • Event or ActivityEvent or Activity
    ParticipantsEvent Organizer
  • Marathon runner
  • Marathon sponsor
  • BASE jumper
  • BASE jumping venue
  • Chili pepper enthusiast
  • Chili pepper contest
  • Avid bull runner
  • Bull run organizer
  • Extreme Sports EnthusiastExtreme Sports Business
  • First time skydiver
  • Skydiving company
  • Recreational bungee jumper
  • Bungee jumping business
  • Amateur rock climber
  • Rock climbing gym
  • Snowboarder or skier
  • Ski & snowboard rental
  • Paintball participant
  • Paintball facility
  • Wingsuit Flying
  • Wingsuit instruction facilities
  • Heli-Skier
  • Heli-Ski operator
  • Scuba diver
  • Scuba diving operation
  • VolunteerNonprofit
    Personal InjuryPersonal Injury
  • Dog bite victim
  • Dog owner
  • Customer who slipped in a store
  • Store owner
  • What Should be Included in a Release of Liability Form?

    A simple release of liability form should generally address the following basics:

    • Who promises not to pursue any legal action against another party
    • What amount of money or action (including being able to participate in the activity)will be given in exchange for the promise
    • When the document takes effect, usually before the activity occurs
    • How neither party admits they acted wrongfully by signing the Waiver

    A waiver form can address incidents that have already occurred in the past or may happen in the future, given the inherent riskiness of the activity.

    A liability form may also include one of these additional provisions:

    • Assumption of Risk: the participant understands that the activities are inherently hazardous yet agrees to assume the risk of being injured or harmed
    • Insurance: the individual is responsible for their own medical, health, or life insurance
    • Medical Treatment: the person will not sue even if they are further injured by any medical treatment given during an emergency at the event
    • Modifications: any changes to the documentmust be in writing
    • No Admission: signing the documentdoes not mean either party admits wrongdoing
    • Parent or Guardian Signature: a minor under the age of 18 is legally unable to sign a contract and should have a parent or guardian co-sign the agreement (although, in certain states, a parent or guardian cannot waive a minor’s legal rights to sue for negligence)
    • Photographic Release: the participant agrees that images or recordings can be used in connection with the event attended
    • Right to Attorney: everyone understands that they have the chance to consult with an attorney about the documentand are otherwise signing itvoluntarily
    • Severable: the rest of the documentis valid even if one part of the agreement is not
    • Witness or Notary: the signature of a third person who acknowledges both parties indeed signed the form is optional

    Release of Liability Form When Selling a Car

    Depending on your state, you may need a liability waiver when selling your car. When you sell your vehicle until the title and registration is transferred, you are liable for any accidents or injuries caused by the buyer. Therefore, most states require you to notify them within days after selling your car.

    To ensure their liability is waived, residents of California who sell their car must fill out a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability Form. TheDepartment of Transportation in Idaho requires residents to fill out a Notice of Release of Liability.Find out if your state requires a waiver form to sell your car.

    How to Write a Release of Liability

    Here’s a step-by-step on writing a release of liability form:

    Step 1 – Releasor and Releasee Details

    a) Provide the name of the state where the event in question will take place.

    b) Provide the date on which this agreement will take effect.

    c) Name the person attending/participating in the event (the Releasor). This person is releasing the owner or event organizer from liability by promising not to sue or take legal action. And name the person who is at risk of being sued (the Releasee), such as an owner or organizer of an event.

    d) Describe the event both Releasor and Releasee are waiving future rights to sue each other.

    Release of Liability (Waiver) (1)

    Step 2 – Release of Claims

    Provide the amount of money, promised (in)action, or something of legal value given to the Releasor by the Releasee to sign the Release or Waiver. Money is often offered as a consideration, while other goods and services can also be offered.

    Release of Liability (Waiver) (2)

    Step 3 – Governing State (Section 4)

    Name the state in which this contract will apply. Usually, it will be the state where both parties reside.

    Release of Liability (Waiver) (3)

    Step 4 – Signatures

    Name any witness to the execution of this Release and have s/he sign here. It is optional to include the signature of a third person (witness or notary) who acknowledges both parties indeed signed the form.

    Release of Liability (Waiver) (4)

    Step 5 – Notary Acknowledgement

    A notary will complete this section with their signature. It is optional to include the signature of a third person (witnesses or notary) who acknowledges both parties truly signed the Release.

    Release of Liability (Waiver) (5)

    Free Release of Liability Sample

    Download a General Release form in PDF or Word format below. You can also find what this document typically looks like:

    Release of Liability (Waiver) (6)

    Other Blank Waiver Forms – By Type

    Mutual Release

    Automobile Accident Release

    Waiver for Damage to Property

    Release for Personal Injury

    Waiver for Participation in an Event or Activity


    Release of Liability FAQs

    Is a release of liability form enforceable?

    Yes, a release of liability form is generally enforceable. If the release of liability waiver meets the following, it can typically be upheld:

    • Waiver contains proper language based on the particular state’s contract law
    • Waiver does not violate public policy or any state laws
    • The injury stems from risks clearly outlined in the waiver or from the simple negligence of the disclaiming company

    How long does it take for someone to accept liability?

    It can take time for someone to accept liability. Many factors must be considered, and it will typically take as long as necessary before someone accepts liability. Sometimes contracts will have a set period in which the liable party must remedy the wrong. If not, the reasonableness of time will be a factor.

    What happens if liability is not accepted?

    If liability is not accepted and the prospective defendant says that they were not negligent, you need to prove that the defendant did something wrong.


    Release of Liability (Waiver)? ›

    A release of liability, also known as a liability waiver or a hold harmless agreement, is a contract in which one party agrees not to hold another party liable for damages or injury. These contracts are common in fields that involve some risk to property, finances, or health.

    What is the difference between a release and a waiver of liability? ›

    The main difference between releases and waivers is the transferring of ownership. When rights are released, they are transferred to another party. When rights are waived, they are gone altogether.

    How do I create a release of liability form? ›

    How to Write a Release of Liability Form
    1. Fill in the information of both parties, including each person's name and address.
    2. Include the details of the event. ...
    3. Add if there is a payment required by the releasee. ...
    4. Write a section for signatures, which will contain the names and dates of both parties.

    Why is a waiver of liability needed? ›

    The purpose of a liability waiver form.

    Once signed, it prevents the participant from opening a lawsuit against the company in the event of damage or loss, effectively shifting responsibility for injuries from the company to the customer.

    What makes a liability waiver legally binding? ›

    A liability waiver becomes a binding legal document once signed. This means the signatory: Is informed about potential risks involved in participating in an activity. Agrees not to sue the company issuing the waiver in case of a stipulated event or occurrence.

    How strong are liability waivers? ›

    if you are injured as a result of ordinary negligence, the liability waiver may fully protect the defendant and leave you without legal recourse. If you are injured as a result of gross negligence, then you may have a case.

    Do liability waivers protect you? ›

    A liability waiver protects California businesses and organizations from some lawsuits. But when they engage in “gross negligence” or “recklessness” and you get hurt, they can still be held legally accountable.

    What are the three requirements for an effective Waiver of Liability? ›

    Elements of a Liability waiver
    • Formal structure. A waiver should follow a certain structure to be termed as valid: ...
    • Risk involved section. ...
    • Assumption of risk section. ...
    • Choice of law provision section. ...
    • Confirmation. ...
    • Signature.
    Jun 22, 2019

    What should a liability waiver say? ›

    Activity risks: The waiver should describe in detail the risks surrounding the activity or service provided by your company. The participant must be made fully informed of potential risks before they can take part in the activity. They must also be made aware that your company will not cover their insurance costs.

    When should I use a waiver? ›

    Generally, a waiver is used when certain risks are associated with a business' goods or services and the business seeks to limit its liability. Waivers are commonly used when a business provides dangerous or risky activities, such as extreme sports or recreational activities to customers.

    What makes a waiver unenforceable? ›

    A liability waiver may be deemed invalid if it is not clear, explicit, and comprehensible. A waiver that is written in a small font such that it is not clearly legible, or one that is written in language that is especially difficult or confusing, may be invalid under the law.

    How long do you have to keep liability waivers? ›

    3. How long do I keep signed waivers? The sponsoring unit is required to retain the waiver for six (6) years after the end of the event or activity for which the waiver was signed.

    How to do a liability waiver? ›

    How to Write a Liability Waiver or Release of Liability Form
    1. Your Liability Waiver Language Must Be Clear. ...
    2. Your Liability Waiver Language Must be Conspicuous. ...
    3. Your Liability Waiver Must Be Signed Voluntarily. ...
    4. Can You Sue After Signing a Waiver?

    What is a simple release of liability agreement? ›

    What Is a Release of Liability Agreement? A release of liability agreement is a legal waiver signed by two parties. One party promises not to sue the other party. The signing party or releasor is indicating that they understand the risks and claim responsibility for any injury that might occur.

    Can anyone create a waiver? ›

    Writing a waiver should not be complicated. However, it is important to consult a lawyer when you have any questions so as to have an effective waiver at the end of the day. You may call your state legal person if you are not able to reach a lawyer. You may also seek the advice of a lawyer after drafting the waiver.

    What is a sample of a release of liability? ›

    “The undersigned hereby assumes all risk of injury or harm as a result of the activities specified above and agrees to release, indemnify, defend, and forever discharge the releasee from all liability, claims, demands, damages, costs, expenses, and causes of action due to death, injury, loss, or damage to the ...

    Can you release a party from negligence? ›

    Excusing Negligence

    A waiver/release is an exculpatory contract that attempts to excuse or relieve a party, for injuries to a participant that arise out of the known and unknown risks in an activity.

    What is a release of liability hold harmless? ›

    A hold harmless clause is used as a release of liability in a contract that protects one party from injury or property damage caused by another party. By signing the clause, the other party is agreeing not to hold business owners legally responsible for the risks involved in certain services.

    What is a liability waiver in law? ›

    In a nutshell, a liability waiver, also known as a release form, release of liability, or waiver of liability, is a legally binding contract between parties that addresses the risks involved in a given activity.

    What do waivers protect you from? ›

    A waiver is an exculpatory contract. That means it's used to excuse a party from responsibility when the other contracted party is injured by either known or unknown risks in a particular activity. This includes inherent risks and ordinary negligence.

    Are release forms legally binding? ›

    Is a release legally binding? Yes. A release or waiver of liability is a legally binding document in which one party (the releasor) agrees to waive any potential claim of harm or injury against the other party (the releasee), in exchange for something of value — called “consideration” in contracting terminology.

    Which two types of waivers are recognized by the law? ›

    Waivers can either be in written form or some form of action. A waiver carried out by an action might be based on whether a party in an agreement acts on a right, such as the right to terminate the deal in the first year of the contract.

    Can I create my own liability waiver? ›

    As tempting as it may be, you should never write your own liability waiver. Unless you're a fully qualified lawyer with experience in this area, it's likely that you'll omit critical language that puts your business at risk for lawsuits.

    Is waiver a consent? ›

    A waiver is legal document releasing or relinquishing a known right, claim, or privilege. In this context, it is the relinquishment to pursue a claim in a certain set of defined circumstances. Informed consent is a written acknowledgement that a participant understands the risks inherent in a particular activity.

    What are examples of waiver clause? ›

    Waiver clause samples. 16.Waiver.No waiver of any of the provisions of this Agreement shall be deemed, or will constitute, a waiver of any other provision, whether or not similar, nor will any waiver constitute a continuing waiver. No waiver shall be binding unless executed in writing by the party making the waiver.

    What are the three kinds of unenforceable contracts? ›

    Kinds of unenforceable contracts.

    (1) Those entered into in the name of another by one without or acting in excess of authority; (2) Those that do not comply with the Statute of Frauds; and (3) Those where both parties are incapable of giving consent.

    Does a waiver need to be signed? ›

    You should only sign a waiver if you agree and understand each of its provisions. Take out your waiver and look for the following common waiver provisions: To relieve the organization of liability for your injury.

    What is a release and waiver? ›

    A waiver and release agreement is a legal document that releases a party from liability and creates an enforceable promise for one party to not take legal action against another.

    What is required for a release to be enforceable? ›

    To be enforceable, the release clause must meet all the requirements for a proper contract, such as: The parties are capable of contracting (i.e., of legal age and mental capacity) The parties consent to the clause (cannot be formed under coercion or through force) The subject matter of the agreement is not criminal.

    What is the purpose of a release form? ›

    A release form, or general release form, is a legal document that serves as consent in writing to release the legal liability of a releasee by a releasor. The document is a formal acknowledgment that, once signed, is a legal release of all a releasee obligations within an agreement.

    What claims Cannot be waived in a release? ›

    Certain claims cannot be released, including claims for earned wages, reimbursement for business expenses, unemployment and COBRA benefits, and worker's compensation benefits (except if approved by the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board).

    How long should you keep liability waivers? ›

    3. How long do I keep signed waivers? The sponsoring unit is required to retain the waiver for six (6) years after the end of the event or activity for which the waiver was signed.

    What is a limitation of liability waiver? ›

    A participant, such as a customer or an employee, accepts risk and agrees to waive the company's liability for damages associated with inherent dangers. The limitation of liability insulates the company from civil damages if the participant suffers from losses or injuries.

    What is a simple release of liability statement? ›

    “The undersigned hereby assumes all risk of injury or harm as a result of the activities specified above and agrees to release, indemnify, defend, and forever discharge the releasee from all liability, claims, demands, damages, costs, expenses, and causes of action due to death, injury, loss, or damage to the ...

    What 4 elements must be present to make a document legal and enforceable? ›

    The basic elements required for the agreement to be a legally enforceable contract are: mutual assent, expressed by a valid offer and acceptance; adequate consideration; capacity; and legality.

    What are the three types of release? ›

    Releasees supervised by the Parole Division are mandatory supervision releasees, discretionary mandatory releasees, and parolees.

    What is a general release waiver? ›

    What Does General Release Agreement Mean? This legally binding document waives the right of the person signing it to make any claims against another party. In an employment sense, an employee would waive their right to take legal action for any claims related to separation or termination of employment.

    What does a release mean in legal terms? ›

    To cease to be bound by an obligation or to concede a right.

    What makes a document not legally binding? ›

    A contract is considered non-binding if it explicitly contains language that renders it non-binding or if it lacks any of the key elements that make it binding. Two parties may use a non-binding contract to record preliminary discussions and ensure they agree with the terms without legally committing to them.

    What is the difference between release and consent form? ›

    Consent forms, sometimes called release forms, are legal documents that serve as written permission to send or receive information among participating parties. They often inform them of associated use risks and release the provider from associated claims.

    Can you write your own legally binding document? ›

    If you're asking whether you need a lawyer to draft a contract, legally, the answer is no. Anyone can draft a contract on their own and as long as the elements above are included and both parties are legally competent and consent to the agreement, it is generally lawful.


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