Technical Bulletin #4 - Risk Management - Trends with Waivers

As the former NSP Rocky Mountain Division Director, National NSP Board Member, and current Legal Advisor for the International Patrol Leadership organization – Federation Internationale des Patrouilles de Ski (FIPS) I have noticed a clear trend in waivers and forms. The trend is “Simple”. Every country is different and every state within the United States has differences. However, the key legal trend for waivers and forms is “keep it simple”.

On waivers the trend is:

 Clear non legal 8th grade language.

 Clear statement of what is being waived.

 Clear understanding adults can not waive a minor rights; i.e. a parent can waive their right to sue but not their children’s. That child’s right remains until they reach 18, then they can sue.

 Clear and specific to the event – not a generic waiver because the risk of a future event can be unknown and different.

 Clear the individual can withdraw at any time if they feel uncomfortable.

 Clear they sign it of their own free will—no pressure.

 Clear it is a release of Liability AND Waiver of Rights.

Forms also need to be simple and clear:

 Simple so those filling it out understand what is needed.

 Simple so the injured party gives simple accurate answers.

 Simple so irrelevant information is not collected. This may confuse and bias a later Judge/Jury.

 Simple so if a customer has a valid claim management knows.

 Simple so if it was a customer’s fault it is clear.

Please see attached as examples of an Accident Form and Liability Release/Waiver of Rights that support the above principles.

Lift Incident Form:

Submitted by  APP Board Member Edward C. Gassman

All views are the opinion of the author and do not represent the Association of Professional Patrollers or its sponsors.

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