Liability waiver. Release of liability. Whatever you call it, they’re a necessary part of running a camp.
But is your waiver going to hold up in court?
That’s the question you need to ask when creating one. And while each state has different standards, it’s important to try and cover all the bases to protect yourself, your camp and your brand.
To determine whether your waiver covers things, you’ll have to ask a few questions:
- Is your waiver a separate agreement, or have you combined it with registration and payment forms? Keeping your waiver a separate form will help alleviate confusion for participants and the courts, should it get that far. Participants should know exactly what they’re signing. Keeping your liability waiver 1-3 pages and stand-alone is key.
- Is it properly titled? “Waiver of Liability,” “Release of Liability,” “Assumption of Risk,” or “Indemnification” or “Indemnity”. If your waiver has a title other than these, you may consider changing it. Don’t combine it with a “Registration”, “Sign-Up Sheet” or any other title/forms.
- Is it easy to read? 10-12 point font size is minimum. Highlight or bold passages that release liability. This makes it easier for the participant (or parent) to easily see the important parts. And don’t include a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo. Make sure it’s written in a language easily understood by laymen.
- Does it include a section explaining the participant’s assumption of risk? With any activity, there is a chance something could happen. Include an explanation of the activity, the nature of the risks involved, and the possible consequences of the inherent risks. Stating that the participant understands these risks and assumes responsibility is vital.
- Who is included in the waiver’s release of liability? Include anyone involved in your camp (management, volunteers, equipment suppliers, sponsors), and be specific that the release is on behalf of the signer, spouse, child(ren), etc. Be as thorough as you can. It’s also important to define how long the agreement is active.
- What else could be included? Agreement that the participant will follow all safety rules. Medical release agreement. Authorization for emergency medical care. Space to provide emergency contact information. Affirmation that the participant is taking part voluntarily, and understands the agreement.
This blog post is by no means a comprehensive explanation of each state’s legal requirements. Nor is it approved by an attorney. Please contact your local attorney to help you prepare a comprehensive release of liability.