How to Write a Ride at Your Own Risk Waiver
There’s no shortage of business horror stories where injury or death that occurs in a moment ends up leading to a prolonged legal battle. People seek all sorts of thrills in this life, which you’re happy to provide, but if you’re not taking every precaution to protect your business against legal action, you’re taking a major risk yourself.
Rather than gamble with your future, if you’re running an equine business or any business that allows someone to ride a rental vehicle, make sure your clients are signing a ride at your own risk waiver.
A ride at your own risk vehicle or horseback riding waiver is a version of a liability waiver and release form specific to riding. It is a legal document in which the signer can read and accept all of the risks involved in the activity and waive the right to sue if they are injured in a way inherent to the activity.
Consider the legal battle, Beckwith vs. Weber in Wyoming; a husband and wife were riding with a Wyoming ranch guide when the wife’s horse stepped in a badger hole and threw her.
The couple claimed negligence against the ranch, but the couple had signed an equine release and waiver of liability. The court ruled that the injury resulted from an accident inherent in horseback riding.
Businesses that can make use of a ride at your own risk waiver include:
- Equine business
- ATV Tours
- ATV Rentals
- Bike Riding Tours
- Bike Rental Companies
- Boat or Jet Ski Rentals
What Are The Components of a Ride at Your Own Risk Waiver?
As a waiver is a legal document, certain clauses need to be included. If any of these aspects are missing, you are leaving your business open to legal loopholes.
Indemnify and Hold Harmless Clause
A hold harmless clause, also known as an exculpatory clause or release of liability clause, is a standard waiver clause that states that one party won’t hold the other liable for damages, losses, or costs associated with incurred legal issues.
These potential costs are typically the loss, damages, or additional legal fees that would arise from a lawsuit for liability waivers.
For example, an equine liability waiver would have an exculpatory clause that protects the business from any responsibility or costs associated with the client becoming injured while taking part in the horseback riding activity.
As a riding business, you need to ensure you are covering all potential risks that can arise from the horse or vehicle, such as:
- Mounting or dismounting
- Falling off or being knocked off
- For horses: bucking, flipping, being spooked, etc.
Here is a sample from a ride at your own risk waiver by Thorncreek Stable @ Quarry Park:
“I voluntarily agree and warrant to Release and Hold Harmless this (these) equine professional(s) from any liability whatsoever, including, but not limited to, any incident caused by or related to said equine professional’s negligence, relating to injuries known, unknown or otherwise not herein disclosed; including but not limited to, injuries, death or property damage from: mounting; riding; dismounting; walking; grooming; feeding; use of horse; barn; paddock; trails or horse ring, in any capacity; falling off horse whether horse is bucking, flipping, spooked; or my failure to understand any equine professional’s direction.”
Voluntary Assumption of Risk Clause
This clause outlines all of the risks inherent in the activity or procedure the signer is about to undergo. The clause then states that on signing, the reader understands and accepts the risks you outlined, so they can not seek legal compensation should they become injured due to those inherent risks.
However, this only protects against those inherent risks, sometimes known as ordinary negligence. Should your business be successfully proven of engaging in gross negligence, or a willful lack of duty of care, this defense can not protect your business against that lawsuit.
Here is a sample from the Thorncreek Stable @ Quarry Park waiver:
“I understand the potential dangers that I could incur in mounting, riding, walking, boarding, feeding a horse(s); including but not limited to, any interactions with other horses. Understanding those risks, I hereby release Thorncreek Stable @ Quarry Park, its managers, and employees and anyone else directly or indirectly connected with Quarry Park from any liability whatsoever in the event of injury or damage of any nature (or perhaps even death) to me or anyone else caused by or incidental to my electing to mount and ride a horse owned or operated by Thorncreek Stable @ Quarry Park.”
Along with those critical clauses, here are some other considerations for your waiver:
- Ensure the document is appropriately titled – using a title like “sign up sheet” or “participation form” is misleading.
- Ensure the document is easily readable with clear font and uses language that is easy to understand.
- Ensure all parties are included (i.e. for an ATV company, the business entity, the staff, the instructors, etc.).
- Include a statement that the document has been fully read and is voluntarily signing. Coercing someone to sign a document is against the law.
- Consider adding a list of rules you expect the signer to follow, so they acknowledge they have been read.
- Ensure there is a line for readers to sign and date at the bottom.
It is also vital that you have a lawyer check your document, as local laws require you to include specific language.
The Benefits of Using an Electronic Waiver Service
Let WaiverForever make your Ride at Your Own Risk Waiver signing easy and safe.
Business owners love WaiverForever for its ease of use and options for sending waivers to clients. Not to mention no more paper waivers to store. Our waiver service works in browsers on both desktop and mobile, and our waiver app for both Android and Apple allows you to set up a waiver signing system in kiosk mode quickly. Waivers are stored securely in the cloud, and our security protocols support legal digital signatures.
We encourage you to learn more about WaiverForever and start your unlimited free trial. It’s time to streamline your processes to enhance your business now and well into the future.