Liability Waivers: What You Should Know to Stay Safe

Signing Liability Waivers

For most people, summer is all about trying new things and having adventures. Warm sunny days allow for fun activities such as hiking, and swimming at the beach. Some people even enjoy taking part in activities that really get their adrenaline going. There’s bungee jumping, water rafting, rock climbing, or skydiving. There are lots of fun things to do in Ottawa during the summer! There are often strict safety policies in place that prevent you from being the victim of a serious accident. The companies that offer these services often have customers sign liability waivers. We often skim through and sign our name at the bottom, perhaps without fully understanding what rights we might be signing away in the process. Contracts and liability waivers are non-negotiable, which is why it’s so important to make sure you understand the terms and conditions in order to appropriately weigh the risk factor. It’s the only way to make an informed decision about whether or not you’re jeopardizing your safety for a moment of fun. Keep reading to find out more about how to protect yourself while still having fun this summer!


What are liability waivers?

Liability waivers, or release forms, are described as a legal contract between a business and a customer/participant. The form explains what the risks are, and should advise people with particular medical conditions if the activity will be unsafe for them. For example, pregnant women, people with epilepsy, etc. These forms are proof that you are aware of and accept the safety risks related to the activity in question. One of the main reasons businesses need liability waivers is to limit the number of costly negligence lawsuits filed against them. It removes some of the liability on their end if something were to go wrong. Many companies leave it to the participants’ discretion to decide whether or not they want to take part in a potentially dangerous activity. While accidents may be rare, they are still possible.


Do your research

Before signing up for an activity or lesson that involves risk, you should always do some extensive research. Read online reviews and comments, as someone else’s first-hand experience may help you decide if the activity is really something you want to try. Don’t be afraid to call using the company phone number. If you have any concerns or questions, there is usually someone available to talk to!



Companies that offer high-risk activities want you to be aware of every possible scenario. While these liability waivers are not designed to scare you off, they are intended to highlight the potential dangers. Signing your name takes some of the responsibility off the company’s shoulders.

Though liability waivers often vary depending on the purpose, most of them outline the same key factors:

  1. A list of risks. This section outlines the dangers associated with the activity.
  2. Hold harmless clause. In the unfortunate case that a participant is seriously injured, or even killed, this clause prevents the victim’s family from suing for damages.
  3. Operator’s negligence clause. Some liability waivers also include a section that protects the operator. Signing your name also means the operator won’t be held responsible if something were to go wrong.


For more blog posts about liability, legal advice, or tips on how to stay safe while doing the activities you love this summer, visit our blog!

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Daniel Badre Founder, Partner
Daniel Badre is a distinguished personal injury lawyer based in Ottawa, renowned for his unwavering commitment to justice and advocacy for those who have suffered from accidents or negligence. With a legal career spanning over two decades, Badre has established himself as a compassionate and tenacious advocate for his clients.
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