Liability exemptions can provide additional protection for horse owners and professionals. You can perform two very important functions. First, in the unfortunate case of a lawsuit, they can offer a strong defence. In fact, if properly designed and in accordance with state law, discharges of liability often lead to a total dismissal of the action. Liability exemptions can also help in the case of a quick and favourable resolution of a dispute. Second, exemptions from liability can deter someone from taking legal action (including contingency cost lawyer, who is reluctant to take legal action where there is a strong defence). However, it is important to recognize that discharges of liability do not constitute a complete blockage of a lawsuit – an action can also be filed in the event of a valid and enforceable discharge of liability. The release of liability will come into play after the prosecution has been commenced, and if enforceable, a strong defense will offer. Many equestrian facilities require their clients to sign warranty forms before participating in horse-related activities. The exemptions of liability, also known as waiver declarations and no-damage agreements, are intended to protect the institution from liability in the event of an accident.
However, despite the massive use of the release of responsibility, there is widespread skepticism about their effectiveness. In fact, many have even declared the release of responsibility as “not worth the paper on which they are written”. So, do you really have to ask your clients to sign a liability authorization? In a word, yes. All companies that associate services with horses should require their customers, customers and viewers to have a properly developed liability authorization. The applicability of a liability authorization depends on its specific conditions and your language – the more concretely, the better. An authorization to place the account should fully inform the participant of the risks associated with equine activities. A general statement such as “riding can be dangerous” does not sufficiently render the risks. The release of responsibility should contain an explanation as to why riding can be dangerous.
A good starting point for this language may be the activity status of your state`s equines, which probably defines the inherent risks. Participation in horse-related activities can be a risky activity. As discussed in a previous article, most states have adopted equine activity statutes to protect horse professionals and activity sponsors from liability in the event of injury or death of participants resulting from certain horse-related activities. In some states that have not yet passed equine laws, such as New York and California, a legal defense called “risk-taking” offers horse owners and professionals some protection from unavoidable accidents. While these statutes and defences are extremely useful to horse owners and professionals, there are restrictions in both cases and it may be costly to rely exclusively on them. An authorization of liability must be consistent with the laws of your state. It is important to remember that each state has different requirements. You should be aware of your state`s activities law, as many of these statutes require certain languages to be included in contracts or exemptions from liability. Ohio law, for example, requires a valid authorization of liability to be signed in writing, by the participant or legal guardian, and that any risk inherent in an equine activity in the law is indicated. The statutes of many other states have a similar requirement.
In addition, an authorization of liability must clearly inform the participant that he intends to absolve the establishment of the installation of horses from liability in the event of negligence. In the absence of a specific language that speaks of negligence, the release of liability does not protect you from liability, that is, the provision of dangerous devices.