» Release of Liability Forms ‘Hold Harmless Agreements’

Release of Liability Forms ‘Hold Harmless Agreements’

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A Release of Liability Form (ROL) is a document that would protect any business, individual or entity of any legal or financial responsibility for an action that would occur as a result of any physical risk. It should be well understood, however, that a business must take all precautions to protect their participants. A Release of Liability does not protect a business or entity of an injury occurring from negligence.


Car Accident Release of Liability – Settles a fault and any further legal or financial strain from an individual or company that was involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Media (Video + Photo) Release – Allows a media company or any third (3rd) party to use video(s) or photo(s) for news publication.

Medical Record Information Release (HIPAA) – Standard form requiring the sharing of medical records from a hospital/doctor’s office to other individual’s the patient deems worthy.

Location (Event) Release of Liability – Most commonly used for school trips or activities where the group that is sponsoring it does not want to be accountable for any accidents that may occur while at the location or event.

Photo Release Form – For the general purpose of using a person, entity, or any type of picture that is made commercial use.

Real Estate Lien Release – This form erases any lien that has been placed on real estate by a contractor (mechanic’s lien) or any type of laborer.

Social Security Release of Information (Form SSA-3288) – In order to allow a third (3rd) party representative to access an individual’s Social Security benefit information.

Veterans Affairs Medical Records Release (VA Form 10-5345) – Use to release health care information being held by the VA to be transferred to another entity or individual.

Video Release – Allows another individual or entity to use footage of someone else for any type of video publication.

What is a Release of Liability Form?

For any business conducting physical activity, whether it pertains to employees or customers, a Release of Liability Form is essential to have in order to protect your business from potential lawsuits. Lets say you operate a construction business that highly demands physical labor. There is a good chance that one day an employee might pull a muscle while handling construction material. Because this employee injured him or herself during normal operations, your company would not be at fault. However, if an injury were to result from negligence, a Release of Liability would be useless in the business’s defense. For example: An employee gets injured on the job due to faulty machinery that should have never been in service.

A Release of Liability Form is also referred to as the following:

  • Liability Release Form
  • General Release of Liability Form
  • Hold Harmless Agreement
  • Liability Waiver
  • Waiver of Liability

When to Use a Release of Liability

If you are starting a business that involves physical activity or services, you will want to highly consider creating a document, which in this case is called a Release of Liability, that communicates the message of “proceed at your own risk” to an employee or customer. Activities such as skydiving or rock climbing are high risk services that will require a Release of Liability form to be signed and completed by a customer before such an event can take place.

Use this document if the following situations arise:

  • You are hosting an event which has the risk of causing injury to participants due to the physical nature of the activity.
  • Hiring an employee for a job that will demand physical labour (i.e. A Moving Company).

Type of Protections a Release of Liability Covers

The release of liability form frees an individual or entity from responsibility for damages that might arise from a specified activity. This is a general form and may be used in a variety of circumstances. Releases are commonly required for participants in high-risk activities, such as rock climbing or skydiving, but also in conjunction with car or truck rentals, and a range of other activities, events, or transactions that may introduce some risk to life or limb.

This contract is a civil arrangement between two parties: the “releasor” who grants the release, and the “releasee” who is freed from liability. It relates only to civil (monetary) damage claims, but has nothing to say about criminal responsibility that might arise from negligence. Even the release from civil liability is conditional on the releasee showing reasonable care – a vendor who rents faulty parachutes or failing vehicles may still face criminal and civil penalties for their malfeasance.

The release of liability form waives all present and future claims associated with the specified activity. Usually, this means that the releasor is foregoing the right to claim damages prior to the initiation of the risky activity. So, both releasor and releasee should be clear on the scope of potential risks prior to formalizing the agreement. In some alternative cases, a release may be signed after both activity and damages have occurred – but this is a more complex matter with different legal considerations.

Risks of Not Using a Release of Liability

Without a release of liability form in hand, liability can be one-sided. Sports vendors, contractors, and others who trade in risky activities may be open to civil claims when incidents occur – even if they do not reasonably seem to be at fault. An outdoor outfitter that rents bikes could be held liable if a patron crashes a rented bicycle, for example.

Even though releases are commonplace, legal claims are too. This document should not be viewed as armor against all damage claims. Courts often use a “reasonableness” standard to assess liability – but it can be hard to pin down just what the court thinks is reasonable. Even with a signed release in hand, both parties should everything possible to prevent untoward outcomes.

Selling a Vehicle Using a Release of Liability and Notice of Transfer

When a used vehicle is sold, its title is transferred from former to new owner. But what happens if the new owner wrecks the secondhand vehicle or gets ticketed before the formal legal transfer of vehicle ownership? The previous owner may still be held liable – even if the car keys and title have been passed to the purchaser.

A simple remedy is to have the purchaser sign a liability release with the vehicle sale. In some jurisdictions, this release is given to the DMV as proof of transaction. But even if not mandated in your state, it is wise to have the purchaser complete a liability release, as it functions as sale documentation and may insulate against future legal complications.

This document should include crucial purchase and vehicle details, including the vehicle make, model, color, and year, the vehicle identification number (VIN), the odometer reading, the sale date, and contact information for both parties.