Each state requires different elements in a liability disclaimer. Depending on the state in which the disclaimer is written, the inclusion of certain vocabulary is necessary; for example, New York state emphasizes "negligence," according to Recreation Management. However, all disclaimers must be clear and concise and state the participant's knowledge of the risks of the activity and agreement to absolve the provider of liability in the event of injury.
A liability disclaimer is a contract signed prior to the participation in an activity or the presentation of a service. It cannot be signed after the fact if it is to be legally enforceable. Further, it cannot be used to absolve the service provider of responsibility for injuries that are the result of intentional or willful negligence, notes Recreation Management.
A liability disclaimer is also known as a release of liability waiver. It works to protect the service provider from lawsuit should the participant become injured in an event for which the service provider could not reasonably anticipate or prevent. In addition to being state specific, waivers are specific to the activity or service that is being provided. All waivers must be signed by an adult able to give consent. In some states, this means no waiver is enforceable that is intended for a minor participant even if the minor's parent or legal guardian is signing for them, according to Recreation Management.