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Waivers for tour groups

Having a waiver certainly can't hurt, but it may not be enough

When visitors come to your farm for a tour or entertainment, you might have them sign a liability waiver that spells out the realities and risks on the farm. By signing, visitors agree to not hold you accountable for an accident or injury.
 
Brian Endres is an associate professor of agricultural law at the University of Illinois. He says a liability waiver must be clear. It has to specify the activity's risks and consequences in detail. When signed by an adult, the contract is straightforward. But a waiver signed by a minor is not a valid contract and may not be effective because a parent could still sue on behalf of the child for an injury.  However, Endres says there is another way to protect yourself.

"That church, or that school, or that Boy Scout troop is going to have an insurance policy, and you could be named as an additional insured on their insurance policy, says Endres. "That's the way I would recommend it, in addition to having a waiver. A waiver can't hurt, it just may not be enough. It's not going to protect you all the way, and unfortunately that's the society we live in."

Many operations require a parent or guardian to read and co-sign the waiver along with the minor. Make sure that staff members understand what the waiver says in case there are questions.

It's not something you should create and write up on your own. Waiver specifications and laws vary widely from state-to-state. There have been cases where a court of law has held the facility or event liable because the waiver was too confusing or vague.
 
"Because waivers are important and waivers need to have particular language to make sure they comply with all these different court cases, I would just run it by an attorney if you have an attorney," says Endres. "Yeah, it's going to cost – I know, nobody wants to pay attorneys – but it might not be a bad thing."

Read more about legal term descriptions and additional points to remember when drawing up a waiver for tour groups

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