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Waiver and Assumption of Risk Form

Definition - What does Waiver and Assumption of Risk Form mean?

This Waiver and Assumption of Risk is an exculpatory contract that attempts to release a company or individual from all liability for injuries, property damage, or death which can arise from the unknown and known risks of a given activity.

For example, participants for common physical activities such as karate tournaments, marathons, swimming competitions, weight lifting competitions, sky-diving, and bungee jumping may be asked to sign a Waiver and Assumption of Risk Form.

A Waiver and Assumption of Risk Form can be evaluated by the courts under contract law or the Waiver and Assumption of Risk Form can be used as an assumption or risk defense under tort law.

A waiver is considered valid, however, only if it drafted according to the state’s laws, the injured part suffered an injury stated in the release, and the waiver does not violate public policy or state law.

Did the organization provide adequate warnings?

The Waiver and Release Form can be used to provide evidence to all participants of a certain activity of their inherent dangers and risks of performing the activities. It is also used to ensure that the participant was not only aware of the dangers, but they willingly and knowingly assumed those risks.

What happens if a participant is injured?

If they have signed an Assumption of Risk Waiver Form the court may allow the defendant in a civil case to use the assumption of risk as a defense. If the Assumption of Risk Waiver Form is combined with other warnings signs, brochures, verbal instructions, and safety briefings, the defendant has an even stronger case that the plaintiff understood the risks but decided to engage in the activity despite the risks.

Often if there is a properly executed and signed Waiver and Release Form a personal injury claim may be summarily dismissed by the court. If not, often the claims adjusters may successfully have the damages reduced.

Drafting a legal Waiver and Release Form

Due to the complexity of personal injury laws and the variability by state it is important to discuss the needed protections for your business with a personal injury lawyer. There are, however, several general statements which should be included in a Waiver and Release Form.

For example, to ensure a Waiver and Release Form offers the best protection possible it should follow the following guidelines:

  • It should be drafted for a specific activity.
  • It should use clear and unambiguous terms which are easily understood.
  • The type should be legible.
  • The form should be separate from any other registration forms.
  • Participants should understand the rights they are giving up and the seriousness of a contract.
  • Participants must sign the contract voluntarily.

Additionally, a warning for all possible injuries should be provided, even “permanent disability or death." All risks should be assumed, both known and unknown. Finally, the Waiver and Release Form must allow for the release of negligence to the fullest extent permitted by the law.

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