Some business models carry more innate danger than others. For example, there is relatively limited liability at play when a business offers mailbox services for entrepreneurs, but there are many risk factors involved in operating a factory.
Some types of business operations are so dangerous that they may not even technically require a written liability waiver. An equine business is a perfect example. The existing legal precedent and federal statutes related to equine operations minimize liability because of the inherent risk of injury and death involved in interacting with a horse.
Of course, many businesses offering trail rides and similar experiences still have patrons sign liability waivers, as do many other types of companies. Are liability waivers worthwhile investment for a business?
Waivers Can Help Deter Frivolous Litigation
Whether or not a business would be liable for someone’s injuries or property damage losses will come down to what other people determine is reasonable. What is reasonable is subjective, and can therefore be hard to gauge. Many businesses are on the side of caution by assuming that people might take unreasonable risks and having them sign liability waivers to limit the possibility of a large insurance claim or a lawsuit.
For example, a trampoline park will typically require that everyone who jumps on one of their trampolines has a signed liability waiver on record and that they agree to the rules of the facility to patronize the facility. If one of those patrons breaks the rules, such as drinking alcohol secretively while enjoying the facilities, their clear violation of the policies for the premises and signed liability waiver would minimize the likelihood of a claim against the company.
However, if a child bouncing in a normal, playful manner tears through a surface due to poor maintenance or unaddressed hazards, then there may be liability for the business due to negligence maintenance practices. Waivers don’t protect against negligence and other failures by a business or its workers. Understaffing, unsafe practices by staff members and even failure to correct unsafe behaviors by patrons could all compromise the usefulness of a liability waiver. Businesses will need to make safety their top priority in addition to having patrons sign a waiver if they truly want to minimize their risk.
Proper Paperwork Means Everything For Those In A High-Risk Industry
The greater the possibility that someone could get hurt at a business, the more important it becomes for the organization to have a plan in place for that exact scenario. Liability waivers are only one means of limiting liability.
Proper insurance, careful compliance with safety regulations and appropriate staff training can also all help to diminish the likelihood of claims that a business is responsible for an injury. Exploring concepts including liability and custom contracts with an experienced professional can help entrepreneurs and executives minimize their organization’s liability risks.