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Waivers

Waivers can be effective business implements if used in the suitable context. Worthy waivers require cautious planning and implementation. Failure to do so may result in a document that does not deliver effective defense.

Helpful information regarding the essentials of an effective waiver:

  • Text should be easy to read, with understandable language. Some jurisdictions outline detailed requirements of the waiver's content, text size and appearance.
  • A waiver should be a stand-alone document, not included as text of another document.
  • The title of a waiver or release must plainly state what it is.
  • A waiver must caution of the risks being accepted and provide a clear description of the potential harm associated with the activity.
  • A waiver must advise the participant or parent co-signer that they agree to assume the risk of their participation and affirm that acceptance is voluntary.
  • A parent or legal guardian must sign a waiver if the participant is under 18 years old. It is a good idea to have both parents sign a waiver, particularly if there are custodial issues involved. Some jurisdictions do not consider waivers or releases signed by parents on behalf of minors as binding. Consult personal counsel to be certain that your jurisdiction will uphold these agreements. If not, create an alternate plan.
  • It is suggested that an "Informed Consent and Assumption of Risk" form should be used for minors.
  • A waiver should identify the parties to which the waiver applies, as well as other parties whose rights will be released.
  • Provide participants, parents and volunteers ample time to review a waiver and address any questions. Never pressure someone to sign a waiver, or make a change to a document after is has been signed.

As the athlete or participant develops in skill level, consider having a new waiver signed that more aptly describes the potential risks at the more advanced level.

Creating a waiver is an intricate legal process. Avoid using generic waivers or drafting your waiver without consulting with an attorney. Review any waiver you use with legal counsel for the jurisdiction in which it applies. It is well worth the minimal fee.