We have all walked into a business and been asked to sign a waiver. It’s such an everyday occurrence that it has become almost instinctual to just sign on the dotted line, seemingly waiving away our legal rights even in the event that we are injured whilst under the care and guidance of a professional.
WHAT DOES IT COVER?
A waiver is a document which seeks to relinquish legal rights or interests if someone is injured or damage is caused during the normal course of your business. For businesses that contain an element of risk of injury, for example gyms or extreme sports providers, waivers are a viable and often valid defence to a claim made against your business in negligence (assuming no negligence has occurred).
It is important that a waiver allows you to collect the necessary data/personal information and that it contains the following:
1. Clear indication that by signing, the client/customer is waiving the right to sue for compensation in the event of an accident;
2. Clear indication that by signing, the client/customer is assuming all risks associated with participating in activity, including the risk of negligence on the part of your business and its employees;
3. Clear indication that in consideration of being allowed to participate, the client/customer agrees to waive any and all claims she might have as a result of their participation, including claims of negligence on the part of your business; and
4. Clearly acknowledging that by entering into the “release agreement” or “waiver” the client/customer was not relying on any representations or statements with respect the safety of the activity, other than as set out in the release.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
If you think your business needs a waiver form, it is important to ensure that it is properly drafted. A poorly worded waiver will create costly legal issues later on. Risk is a factor that every business must consider. Don’t let it land you in hot water.