For any business located in Los Angeles, understanding the local legal landscape—particularly the nuances around waivers of liability—is essential to protecting yourself and your customers. Liability waivers can be a valuable tool for small business owners to limit their responsibility in certain situations, such as when customers sign up for classes and activities. However, in order for those waivers to be valid and binding, they must be drafted correctly.

In this article, we’ll discuss the top five considerations when developing liability waivers, all of which are designed to protect both the customer and the business. Read on to learn more about the legal requirements of liability waivers in Los Angeles.

What is a Liability Waiver?

A liability waiver, also known as a release of liability, is a legal document that limits the legal responsibility of a business if one of its customers is injured. Liability waivers are typically used by businesses that offer activities and services that involve physical risk (such as sports, climbing, or fitness classes).

In general, liability waivers require the participant to assume full responsibility for any resulting injuries. They sometimes include language that states the business is not liable for any injuries, and that the participant agrees not to sue the business in the event of an accident or injury.

1. Consider Why You’re Offering a Liability Waiver

When developing a liability waiver, it’s important to consider why you’re offering one in the first place. In some cases, a waiver may be necessary to protect the business from legal liability. For example, if you offer a physical activity such as a fitness class or climbing wall, you might want to include a waiver in your customer agreement to protect yourself from any resulting lawsuits.

On the other hand, offering a liability waiver doesn’t guarantee that a customer can’t sue. Even if a waiver is included in the customer agreement, a court may still hear the case and decide that the customer was entitled to sue.

2. Know Legal Requirements

When developing a liability waiver in Los Angeles, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the local legal requirements. In particular, you need to ensure that the waiver meets the requirements set forth by the California Civil Code.

First, a liability waiver must be written in clear and unambiguous language. It must also include a clear statement that the customer is, in fact, waiving his or her right to sue or make a claim against the company. Additionally, the waiver must be signed and dated by both the business and the customer.

3. Understand Financial Consequences

When offering a liability waiver, it’s also important to consider the financial consequences. A waiver can protect a business from legal liability, but it could also increase the risk of financial loss. That’s because a waiver could prevent a customer from recovering damages for an injury.

4. Know Your Audience and Context

When creating a liability waiver, it’s also important to know your customer and the context. You should tailor the language of the waiver accordingly, since it’s designed to protect both the customer and the business.

For example, if you’re offering a fitness class or a climbing activity, the language of the waiver should be very clear and easy to understand. Additionally, you may want to consider adding language to the waiver that explains the risks of the activity and the customer’s responsibility for any related injury.

5. Consult an Attorney

Finally, it’s important to consult an attorney before developing a liability waiver. A qualified attorney will be able to ensure that your waiver meets the local legal requirements and that it’s tailored to the specific needs of your business.

At UpCounsel, we can connect you with experienced Los Angeles-based attorneys who specialize in business law and liability waivers. Whether you need a one-time consult or an entire freelance legal department, UpCounsel’s network of experienced lawyers has you covered. From small businesses to the Fortune 1000, groundbreaking companies of all sizes trust UpCounsel and its attorney community to provide high quality, cost-effective legal services.


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