Release or Waiver Agreement FAQ - United States
From LawDepot Law Library
A Release Agreement (Waiver) is an enforceable promise not to proceed with a legal claim in exchange for money or other compensation. LawDepot offers a written Release Agreement.
What is a release agreement?
A release agreement is an enforceable promise not to proceed with a legal claim in exchange for money or other compensation. Essentially, a party (the releasee) gives money or other consideration to a second party (the releasor). In exchange, the releasor agrees not to sue, press charges, or otherwise take legal action against the releasee.
Who is the releasor?
The releasor is the party who is releasing a possible claim in exchange for something of value.
Who is the releasee?
The releasee is the party who is being released from a claim or possible claim.
What is "consideration"?
Consideration is the compensation that the Releasor receives in exchange for releasing the claim.
What can be offered as consideration?
Commonly, money is offered as consideration. However, other goods and services can be offered as consideration as well. For example, Party A could agree to release a claim against Party B in exchange for company stock, a motor vehicle, or even a used lawnmower. Usually, as long as both parties agree to the consideration and the consideration is something of value, the consideration will be acceptable. However, if the consideration is later found to be less than expected, defective or damaged, or performance was made improperly (e.g. where consideration is a service), courts may find there to be failure of consideration and the contract may be held unenforceable.
Who is the activity provider?
The activity provider is the person or organization that will be providing the participant with access to the activity in question. The activity provider can be an individual or an organization. For example, if Bob Smith was a tour guide who represented himself and provided mountain tours, the activity provider would be Bob Smith. However, if Bob Smith was an employee of and was representing the Nature Walk Touring Company, the activity provider would be Nature Walk Touring Company.
Activity Waiver and Release
What is an "activity waiver and release"?
The activity waiver and release is an agreement between two parties that releases the party providing an activity from liability claims from the individual wishing to participate in the activity. The participant is required to give up all future claims against the other party, so care should be taken to ensure that the participant is fully aware of his or her rights.
Who can use the activity waiver and release?
The activity waiver and release can be used by any business or individual that allows others to participate in activities that are potentially dangerous. For example, an amusement park might require visitors to sign an activity waiver and release before boarding a ride, or a paintball course might require customers to sign a waiver before competing in any paintball activities.
Of course, these are just a few examples. The activity waiver and release can be used as all of the following and more:
- A biking waiver
- A boating, rafting, or kayaking waiver
- A bungee jump waiver
- A camping waiver
- A hiking waiver
- A hunting waiver
- A snowmobile, quad or dirt bike waiver
- A sports waiver
- A swimming waiver or swimming pool waiver
- A trampoline waiver
- A zoo waiver or petting zoo waiver
Will courts always enforce an activity waiver and release?
Generally courts will respect the waiver agreement reached between the parties however in some circumstances a court may be unwilling to enforce a waiver agreement. This is especially the case in situations where they find:
- the agreement conflicts with public policy (i.e. parties performing essential services to the public are expected to fulfill their obligations to the public and cannot waive liability by using a release)
- the releasee's conduct amounts to gross negligence (i.e. the releasee cannot waive liability for conduct that rises to the level of gross negligence)
- the release contains ambiguous language (i.e. the document does not clearly and explicitly communicate the intention of terminating the releasee’s liability)
- the releasor is not aware of the release and cannot reasonably be expected to be aware of it (i.e. the waiver clause in the document appears in such a way that it is unlikely to be read by the releasor)
- the releasor lacks the capacity to contract away his or her--or another person's-claims (i.e. if the releasor is a minor or the releasor is lacking the mental capacity needed to sign the document)
In such circumstances, courts may interpret activity waiver and release agreements strictly against the party that benefits from the release. Accordingly, it is essential that the releasing party is fully aware of the rights being waived.
Damage to Personal Property Release
What is a "damage to personal property release"?
The damage to personal property release is a general release tailored for the possible civil claims following damage to the releasing party's property. The releasing party is required to give up all known and unknown claims against the other party, so care should be taken to ensure that the releasing party is fully aware of his, her, or its rights.
What is personal property?
For the purposes of this release agreement, personal property refers to anything that you own. Shoes, jewelry, vehicles, televisions, and houses are all examples of personal property.
When would I use a damage to personal property release?
A damage to personal property release is used after damage has occurred to someone’s personal property. The person who caused the damage (the releasee) agrees to compensate the person whose property was damaged (the releasor), and the two parties sign the damage to personal property release when they reach an agreement.
Does the compensation offered have to match the value of the damaged property?
No, the compensation offered in a damage to personal property release does not have to match the value of the damaged property. For example, if your friend accidentally broke your television, you might choose to give your friend a break and accept monetary compensation that is less than the cost of the television. At the same time, your friend might feel terrible about breaking your television and offer you more money than the TV is worth as a way of apologizing. Usually, the compensation can be worth any amount, so long as both parties agree to it.
Can I use a damage to personal property release for damage that occurred to my vehicle, or should I use a motor vehicle accident release?
If damage has occurred to the vehicle as a result of a collision with another vehicle, you should use the motor vehicle accident release. This is the case even if you weren’t in your vehicle at the time of the collision. For example, if your vehicle is parked on the street in front of your house and somebody collides with it, you would use a motor vehicle accident release.
However, if the damage to the vehicle is not caused by another vehicle, you should use a damage to personal property release. For example, if your neighbor chopped down a tree and it fell on your vehicle, you should use the damage to personal property release, as the damage was not caused by a motor vehicle accident.
Debt-Accord and Satisfaction Release
What is a "debt-accord and satisfaction release"?
A debt-accord and satisfaction release is an agreement to accept less than is legally due in order to reach a settlement. The releasing party agrees to release any claims they have to the debt in exchange for agreed upon compensation. Please note that this document should only be used when there is a genuine dispute over the actual amount of the debt, such as disputes over the value of services provided.
When should you use a debt-accord and satisfaction release?
A debt-accord and satisfaction release can be used in any number of situations where there is a dispute over the amount of money owed.
For example, let’s say that the ABCD Lawn Company did some landscaping work for Bob Smith. The ABDC Lawn Company gives an initial estimate of $500. However, the final bill comes to $1,000 and Bob Smith is not impressed with the work of the ABCD Lawn Company. He refuses to pay $1,000. In order to settle the debt, the ABCD Lawn Company creates a debt-accord and satisfaction release where the parties agree that Bob Smith will pay the ABCD Lawn Company $500.
Debt-Partial Repayment Release
What is a "debt-partial repayment release"?
A debt-partial repayment release is a general release tailored for use as a debt settlement between two parties. The releasing party agrees to accept less than they are legally due as a trade-off for reaching a final settlement. Please note that this document would normally be used for disputes resulting from the sale of a good.
General Release of Claims
What is a "general release of claims"?
A general release is a broad release from all possible civil claims resulting from a dispute. Since the releasing party is giving up all known and unknown claims against the other party, care should be taken to ensure that the releasing party is fully aware of his, her, or its rights. The general release can be tailored for many different situations.
Motor Vehicle Accident Release
What is a "motor vehicle accident release"?
A motor vehicle accident release is a general release tailored for the possible civil claims resulting from a motor vehicle accident. The releasing party is required to give up all known and unknown claims against the other party so care should be taken to ensure that the releasing party is fully aware of his, her, or its rights.
What is a "mutual release"?
A mutual release is a general release tailored for use when each party claims that the other party is to blame for the injuries or damages that they have suffered. Since each party is giving up all known and unknown claims against the other party, care should be taken to ensure that the parties are fully aware of their rights. Normally, each party simply releases the other party from future liability. However, if one party is more at fault, that party can be asked to give extra consideration (compensation).
Can one of the parties receive compensation with a mutual release?
Yes. One of the parties can receive compensation with a mutual release. If you wish for one of the parties to receive compensation through the mutual release, that party should be listed as the First Releasor.
For example, if Susan and Peter are backing out of parking stalls at the same time and collide with each other, they are both at fault and they may want to sign a Mutual Release. If Peter’s vehicle sustained no damage and Susan’s vehicle sustained $100 worth of damage, the parties might agree to split the cost of Susan’s repairs. In that case, the parties would sign a Mutual Release Agreement stating that Peter will offer $50 in compensation to Susan.
Can both of the parties receive compensation with the mutual release?
No. LawDepot’s automated mutual release only allows for one of the parties to receive compensation.
Personal Injury Release
What is a "personal injury release"?
A personal injury release is a general release tailored for the possible civil claims resulting from an incident causing an injury to the releasing party. The releasing party is required to give up all known and unknown claims against the other party, so care should be taken to ensure that the releasing party is fully aware of his or her rights.
What is a personal injury?
A personal injury is an injury caused to one's body, mind or emotions as the result of an accident. The injury can be physical or psychological.