With COVID-19 restrictions easing and businesses reopening across the country, many business owners and managers are understandably anxious—not only about their possible exposure to the novel coronavirus, but also about their possible exposure to liability if a customer, client, or worker gets sick. We know that COVID-19 spreads easily through person-to-person contact indoors, which is especially troubling for businesses where people interact in close quarters such as stores, hair salons, wellness centers, gyms, medical offices, and restaurants. The best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to wear a mask and maintain appropriate social distance, managing COVID-19 risks. A liability waiver form can give you an additional layer of professional protection: think of it as PPE for your bottom line.
If you need a COVID-19 Liability Waiver Form, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will send you one to use for free.
Small businesses are under extreme financial duress right now, and there is plenty of confusion and uncertainty about how best to keep staff and customers as safe as possible while allowing businesses to keep going. Balancing customer and employee safety with the need to operate a profitable business poses a challenging problem. The last thing any business needs at this difficult time is a surprise lawsuit from a customer who alleges to have contracted COVID-19 from visiting the premises.
A small number of states (North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming) have addressed this issue by passing legislation to provide businesses with liability protection. There are also talks of a potential nationwide law being implemented. But it is not clear, however, when or even if any such legislation will pass.
Liability Waivers for Legal Risk Management
In the meantime, many businesses are choosing to minimize their legal vulnerability by using liability waiver forms. For example, a business might require each customer to sign a liability waiver agreement before entering the establishment, undertaking a particular service or attending a certain crowded event.
The effectiveness of a liability waiver will vary greatly depending on the language used in the waiver and the state in question. Courts in some states are known to be friendly towards liability waivers while others look at them more skeptically. Despite this variability, many legal professionals believe liability waiver forms present a way for businesses to realistically balance the financial and legal challenges they face during this global crisis.
Many businesses have decided a liability waiver offers valuable peace of mind with minimal business cost. At the very least, you and your employees can use liability waivers to ensure customers are aware of their personal responsibility to manage their exposure to risk and to ensure they accept the potential increased risk of infection associated with entering your business, undertaking a close-contact service, or attending a crowded event. You can also use these forms to ask customers to confirm they have not had any COVID-19 symptoms recently, which will offer some reassurance to at-risk employees or volunteers.
What a Liability Waiver Form Contains
Some common provisions are appearing in these liability waiver forms. These forms generally contain:
- Representations that the customer has not experienced symptoms of COVID-19.
- An acknowledgment that the customer understands there are risks relating to COVID-19 that cannot be fully mitigated.
- A waiver of any liability on the part of the business should the customer or their family members contract the Coronavirus as a result of their patronage.
A liability waiver form is no replacement for well thought out safety procedures. The first line of defense for businesses is establishing protocols for COVID-19 prevention. But a liability waiver form can offer additional protection and may potentially save a business owner from lawsuit damages if a client becomes sick and attempts to blame the business.
To get your free COVID-19 Liability Waiver Form, email us at email@example.com.
We will email you a Liability Waiver Form as a PDF. You can use the form for your business by printing it out or using an e-signature solution such as Countersign.