What is a waiver?
A waiver is a legally binding document that releases the provider of recreational or hospitality services from liability in the event of injury, loss, or damage to a customer. Waivers are commonly used by businesses offering activities such as camping, horseback riding, hunting, paddle sports, rock climbing, zip lining, and other adventure sports, as well as hotels, resorts, and theme parks.
Purpose of a waiver
The purpose of a waiver is to limit the liability of a business in the event of an accident, injury or damage caused a customer's negligence or participation in an activity provided by the business. The waiver also serves as a warning to customer that the activity they are participating in may be dangerous, and that they assume the risk of injury or damage.
Differences among waivers
Not all recreation waivers are the same. Some waivers may include specific language or clauses that limit the liability of the business in specific situations, while others may provide more comprehensive protection. It is important for the customer to carefully read and understand the terms of the waiver before signing it.
According to insurance carriers, you must have each adult sign their own waiver, one signature per page. Minors must have their own waiver signed by an adult. If you offer a variety of activities, each activity may need its own waiver. Additionally, if a client refuses to wear a helmet, such as in Western horseback riding, a helmet waiver is a reasonable requirement.
You must have each adult sign their own waiver (one adult’s signature per page).
Clear, concise, and easy to understand
Review your waivers to ensure they are clear, concise, and easy to understand. The language used should be specific and unambiguous. The terms should be easy to understand for the average person.
For a recreation and hospitality waiver to be enforceable, the customer must sign the waiver voluntarily and with full knowledge of the terms and conditions. The customer must be made aware of the nature and extent of the risks involved in the activity and must have the opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification before signing the waiver. The customer must have ample time to review the waiver and not feel under duress. Sending the waiver in advance of arrival is an effective way to give the customer enough time to review the waiver.
While recreation and hospitality waivers can provide a significant amount of protection to a business, they are not foolproof. There are certain situations in which a waiver may not be enforceable, such as if the customer were not fully informed of the risks involved, or if the waiver was signed under duress or coercion.
An attorney is the best resource for making sure the exact verbiage of your waiver matches your particular activities
and your state statutes.
Additionally, review and update your waivers regularly to ensure they meet the latest legal standards and protect the interests of your business. The legal environment for each state is also specific.
An attorney is the best resource for ensuring the verbiage of your waivers matches your activities
Waivers are an essential tool for owners and operators of recreational and hospitality businesses to protect themselves from legal and financial consequences in the event of accidents, injuries, or damage caused by customers. They provide an important reminder to customers of the inherent dangers involved in these activities and help ensure they are aware of and accept the risks before participating. However, it is important to remember while a waiver can provide protection, it is not a guarantee. Service providers should always prioritize the safety and well-being of their customers.
For more information regarding waivers, please reach out directly to Leavitt Recreation and Hospitality Insurance.