A Release of Liability, also known as a Liability Waiver or Hold Harmless Agreement, is a legal document between two parties – Party A (the Releasor) signs to acknowledge the risks involved in a particular activity or process, thereby agreeing not to hold Party B ( the Releasee ) responsible for any harm or damage that might occur.
You can use a liability waiver 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 this document before or after performing activities that could expose you to legal action. It 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.
- By Types
- What Is a Release of Liability Form?
- Is a Release of Liability Form Enforceable?
- What Should Be Included in a Release of Liability
- How to Write a Release of Liability Form
- Release of Liability Sample
- Frequently Asked Questions
Used when one person is broadly giving up all known and unknown claims against another party.
Basic, but flexible and comprehensive enough to cover broad claims that are filed in the most common dispute cases.
Waiver for Damage to Property
Used when real property (i.e. land or building) or personal property (i.e. jewelry or movable possession) is harmed and the parties settle the dispute out of court.
Release for Personal Injury
Used for cases of personal injury in which a person is injured or harmed and agrees not to sue in exchange for a certain amount of money or value.
Personal injury can be considered both physical or psychological.
Waiver for Participation in an Event or Activity
Used by event and entertainment companies that require their customers to give up all future claims against the organizer or owner for personal injuries that may occur.
Sign these forms when participating in activities such as paintball, sports leagues, and other athletic events.
What Is a Release of Liability Form?
A Release of Liability form is a legal agreement between 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. 
- 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.
A liability waiver can be used when an accident like a car wreck or property damage has occurred. Instead of going through an expensive lawsuit, both parties agree to settle the dispute out of court.
- Could reduce time spent in court
- May save you money on things like unpaid medical bills and legal fees
- Fear of participating in or organizing future events
- Might reduce the likelihood that you will be sued
- May minimize frivolous lawsuits
- People may be wary of the business or individual and reconsider their participation.
- The document may not be enforceable
- It could be costly to enforce
- It may not be easy to prove
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 form can prevent:
The Most Common Liability Situations
These are some of the most common situations in which you may use a Waiver form:
|Damage to Property
|Damage to Property
|Event or Activity
|Event or Activity
|Extreme Sports Enthusiast
|Extreme Sports Business
Is a Release of Liability Form Enforceable?
Yes, a release of liability form is generally enforceable. If the waiver meets the following, it can typically be upheld:
- It contains proper language based on the particular state’s contract law
- It 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
What Should Be Included in a Release of Liability
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
The form can address incidents that have already occurred in the past or may happen in the future, given the inherent riskiness of the activity. It 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 document must be in writing
- No Admission: signing the document does 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 document and are otherwise signing it voluntarily
- Severable: the rest of the document is 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
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.
The Department 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 Form
Step 1 – Releasor and Releasee Details
a) Provide the name of the state where the event will occur.
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 where Releasor and Releasee waive future rights to sue each other.
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 document. Money is often offered as a consideration, while other goods and services can also be offered.
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.
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.
Step 5 – Notary Acknowledgement
A notary will complete this section with their signature. It is optional to include the signature of a third person (witness or notary) who acknowledges both parties indeed signed the Release.
Release of Liability Sample
Download our liability waiver in PDF or Word format below. You can also find what this document typically looks like:
Blank Forms – By Type
|Automobile Accident Release
|Waiver for Damage to Property
|Release for Personal Injury
|Waiver for Participation in an Event or Activity
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for someone to accept liability?
It can take time for someone to accept liability. Many factors must be considered; it will typically take as long as necessary before someone accepts liability.
Sometimes, contracts have a set period for the liable party to 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.