Over on the I Am A homeschool Group Leader on Facebook, Betty asked a great question:
Does a Release of Liability Agreement really count for anything? I see these all of the time; we had one last year as well, but with all of our insurance concerns this year I am beginning to wonder if they are valid at all. Will they hold up in court? Are they sufficient in lieu of insurance?
The best information on using liability waivers I heard came from TJ Schmidt, an attorney with Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). I heard him speak at a homeschool convention. He explained that waivers may deter people from suing you. A member may think twice about filing a lawsuit because he or she remembered signing a liability waiver. That may be why insurance companies require waivers; they cut down on claims and lawsuits.
Liability waivers are NOT sufficient in lieu of insurance. Waivers will not pay damages or attorney fees if there is a claim or lawsuit. That’s what insurance does.
Liability waivers also show that your organization practices due diligence. It demonstrates that you run an organizations that values safety and protection, which might be helpful in a claim or lawsuit.
Carol Topp, CPA