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Why copying and pasting a liability waiver from another state could put your business at risk


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Reminder! You can’t just copy and paste someone else’s liability waiver and expect it to work for your business.


In equine law, we equine lawyers regularly caution people that the legal protections immunizing equine activity sponsors from some lawsuits vary from state to state, and that therefore, you cannot necessarily copy and paste a liability waiver written for one state for use in another state.


A case from Michigan is recent confirmation of this caution.


Some states permit preinjury releases of liability for negligent conduct. Some states don’t. Almost no states permit preinjury releases for willful and wanton misconduct. However, a Michigan court ruled last year that Michigan’s recently amended equine activity liability act does permit preinjury releases protecting against lawsuits alleging willful and wanton misconduct of an equine activity sponsor. This is a unique and unusual court result, and not one likely to be repeated in other states. But, it shows how the law changes and evolves over time, and further emphasizes the value of having a professionally prepared liability waiver that takes into account recent legal changes.

 

As we’ve said before: If you borrowed a form from someone else, got one off the internet, or have an old waiver, not only do you risk that the document won’t actually do much to protect you, but also it is a missed opportunity for you to critically evaluate the whole of your business and ensure you are doing everything you can to protect what you’ve built.”


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As always, please remember that these informational updates are not legal advice about your specific circumstances and are not a substitute for obtaining legal counsel on any questions you have about your specific circumstances. Let us know if you have any questions! 


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