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.
Use a release of liability 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.
Release of Liability Forms – by Type
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.
This form can be 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 templates that we offer:
What is a Release of Liability Form
A Release of Liability 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.
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 form can prevent:
The Most Common Liability Situations
These are some of the most common situations in which you may use a Waiver form:
|General Release||General Release|
|Mutual Release||Mutual Release|
|Car Accident||Car Accident|
|Damage to Property||Damage to Property|
|Event or Activity||Event or Activity|
|Extreme Sports Enthusiast||Extreme Sports Business|
|Personal Injury||Personal Injury|
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 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
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 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 both Releasor and Releasee are waiving 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 Release or Waiver. 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 a General Release form in PDF or Word format below. You can also find what this document typically looks like:
Blank Waiver 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
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; 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.