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Local Outings

Liability Waiver Q&A


Q. Why is the Sierra Club using a liability waiver?

A. The use of liability waivers have become a standard practice in the outdoor industry.  Customers are now required to sign a waiver when doing anything from renting a kayak to going horseback riding.  Waivers are used to help protect the outdoor organization and leaders in the event of a lawsuit.  

Q. Are liability waivers enforceable?

A. Although some say that liability waivers are worthless, our legal counsel and outdoor industry professionals believe that they are of great value. There is an emerging body of case law in which liability waivers have afforded outdoor organizations very real protection from frivilous claims.

Q.  What is the difference between a liability waiver and an acknowledgement of risk?

A.  A participant's acknowledgement of risk is just that -- an acknowledgment that the participant might get hurt.  A liability wavier includes such an acknowledgement, but goes beyond mere acknowledgement of risk and also asks the participants to assume the responsibility for that risk.

Q.  On the sign-in sheets, what does "Early Sign-Out" mean?

A.  Occasionally a participant decides to leave an outing before the outing officially ends. When this happens, the participant must initialize the "Early Sign-Out" column next to their name. This will document the fact that the participant is no longer on the outing and that the Sierra Club leaders are no longer responsible for the participant's safety. This documentation will help protect the Club and the leaders in the event that a participant is injured after leaving the outing.

Only participants who leave the outing early need to initialize the "Early Sign-Out" column. Participants who stay with the group until the outing officially ends do not need to initialize this column.

Q. Can minors sign liability waivers?

A. No.  Liability waivers signed by minors are not enforceable.  Minors must have a liability waiver signed by their parent or guardian.  Anyone under 18 years old is considered a minor.

Q. Can an adult who is not the parent or guardian, such as a scout leader or teacher, sign the liability waiver on behalf of the parent or guardian of a minor?

A. No.

Q.  (Regarding Inner City Outings) I have already signed a waiver with the sponsoring social agency.  Why do I need to sign another waiver for the Sierra Club?

A.  The agency's liability waiver only protects the agency and its employees -- not the Sierra Club and its leaders.


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