Many businesses use release forms (or waivers) to shield themselves from potential liability claims and lawsuits. Organizers of dangerous activities, such as escape room games, may ask you to sign a release form so that you don't sue them if you get injured in the activity. Here are some of the elements of a good release form.
Identities of Releasor and Releasee
A release form should include the names and addresses of the releasor and releasee. As the person who promises not to pursue legal action against another party, you are the releasor. The releasee is the person or organization in danger of your potential lawsuit.
The identities are important so that the releasee doesn't extend the release to cover other parties after an accident. Each person should sign a release form with the releasee. For example, if your kids and the neighbor's kids want to participate in a local charity run, each of the participants must sign a release form.
The release form should also detail the injuries that the releasee doesn't expect to compensate you for. A release form should not purport to cover every conceivable injury you may experience. Release forms only protect the releasee from lawsuits that stem from foreseeable injuries.
For example, if you want to in a local charity run, the release form should only cover the foreseeable injuries, such as an ankle sprain you may get if you twist your ankle on a bad section of the road. However, unforeseeable injuries, such as contaminated refreshments from the organizers, are not under the purview of the release form.
Ideally, the release form should also have a place for witnesses to sign. Legal contracts typically require witnesses to certify that all parties to the contract got into the contract willingly. Thus, a gym teacher cannot take your child behind the classroom and force the child to sign a release form because the form requires a witness.
Parent or Guardian Signature
The government recognizes the fact children cannot participate in legal contracts on their own. The rationalization is that children don't exactly know right from wrong and may not even be aware of their rights. To allow a child to sign a legal contract opens up the potential of child abuse by adults. Thus, if your child has to sign a release form, you also have to countersign the form to certify your approval of the same.
Note that a release form is not a blanket excuse for a party to subject another party to needless danger. There are exceptional cases where you can sue a releasee for damages even if you had signed a release form. If you are injured after signing a release form, contact a personal injury attorney to evaluate your release form and advise you on whether you can hold the defendant liable for your damages.