The Blame Game: Understanding Exculpatory Agreements And Liability Waivers

 Friday, June 1, 2018

 Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer, S.C.

Society has gone from risk-averse to risk-intolerant. It is hard to participate in any activity without being asked to read and sign some sort of release, exculpatory agreement, or liability waiver in advance. A key tool of risk management is the exculpatory agreement — a generic term which can refer to a provision in a contract, the back of a receipt or invoice, or simply by clicking “accept” in an online purchase. In most exculpatory agreements, one of two things is stipulated: (1) one party is relieved of any blame or liability arising from the other party’s wrongdoing with regard to a particular activity, and/or (2) one party (usually the one that drafted the agreement) is freed of all liability arising out of performance of that contract.
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