General Liability Waivers

We strongly encourage every organization to implement a robust system of waivers. Waivers help stakeholders to understand the risks that they are agreeing to assume when participating in your programming. They also better protect your organization in the event of a lawsuit.

Waivers are not a fix-all solution to liability or risk, but they are a very important and useful risk management tool and can be very impactful in the defense of a claim. As the world changes, we expect waivers to become a regular risk management practice for a much broader range of industries. Therefore, we want to make sure that our customers are using waivers effectively to help share the responsibility for managing and mitigating risk.

Included in this waiver is also specific COVID-19 language. During this time, it will be crucial to communicate to members and visitors alike that the COVID-19 crisis is on-going, and that they and their kids are participating in activities at their own risk. That means taking extra care to ensure that all participants sign a comprehensive waiver that covers risks such as COVID-19.

Download our sample waivers below:

General Liability Waiver FAQ

Q: Who needs to sign a waiver at my organization?
A: Everyone who is in your facilities or your programs should sign a waiver. This includes members, guests, program participants, and parents/guardians of minors. Check with your organization’s Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier before asking staff to sign a waiver. Redwoods does not recommend a waiver for staff.

Q: How long do we need to store waivers?
A: Every organization should have a document retention policy that clearly states how long your organization stores waivers. Best practice is to store a waiver until someone terminates their membership. At the time of termination, store that individual’s waiver for an additional length of your state’s statute of limitations (in most states, that is two to three years). If the member is a minor, waivers will need to be stored until they are 18, plus the statute of limitations.

Q: How should my organization store waivers?
A: While many people are transitioning to digital waivers, records can be kept either digitally or on paper. The important thing is that they are easily accessible in the event that an incident happens.

Q: How should we respond if someone doesn’t want to sign a waiver?
A: Clearly communicate to the individual that in order to participate in your organization’s programs, you must have a signed waiver. If they are unwilling to sign the waiver, do not make an exception, and don’t allow them to participate in your programs.

Q: How should we respond if someone wants to change or omit certain sections of a waiver?  
A: Clearly communicate to the individual that your organization doesn’t allow any changes to your waiver. If they don’t want to sign the waiver as is, do not make an exception, and don’t allow them to participate in your programs.

Q: If there are multiple adults under one membership, do we need a signed waiver from every adult?
A: Yes, every adult on the membership needs their own signed waiver. This will protect your organization in the event that either adult is involved in an incident. If needed, each adult can sign one single copy of the waiver—but every adult must sign on their own behalf.

Q: What do we need to do when a minor turns 18?
A: Because the minor’s guardian signed the waiver on their behalf, once a minor turns 18, you will need to get them to sign their own adult waiver.