Planning an event like a charity fun run or community carnival is a way for your business to give back to the community while giving employees a chance to bond outside the office. If you’re the one throwing the party, having participants sign an event liability waiver should be on your to-do list. When participants sign an event liability waiver, they acknowledge the potential risk factors involved with participation, from bodily injury to property damage. They are also waiving their rights to make claims against the host or organizer. So, when do you need an event liability waiver? Let’s boogie.

Event liability waivers explained

A signed event liability waiver is a standard legal document. It helps protect businesses and event organizers if injuries or property damage occur during an event. Everyone who wants to participate will need to sign the release of liability form before entering the event. In some cases, a signature is required before purchasing a ticket. You may have signed one of these liability waivers if you ever:

  • Entered an amusement park
  • Went skydiving or bungee jumping
  • Attended a large concert or music festival
  • Signed up for horseback riding
  • Participated in an exercise program or workout class

Event liability waivers are often referred to as “event participation waiver forms.” They include language that protects the event host in most injury or property damage cases. These forms acknowledge the assumption of risk, essentially transferring risk from the event host to the participants.

What does an event liability waiver contain?

An event liability waiver has a few key provisions. First, the participant acknowledges that they are voluntarily entering the premises and taking part in the activities at their own risk by participating in the event and signing the waiver. This places the responsibility on the attendee’s shoulders. If a mishap affects the person’s physical condition, the signed release protects the business or organizer.

Second, as an extension of this responsibility, an event liability waiver usually states that the participant is waiving their rights to claims of:

  • Personal property loss
  • Damage to personal property
  • Injuries or death

Third, the language restricts the attendee’s actions. By signing the event liability waiver, the participant agrees:

  • To follow all company policies and guidelines (even ones not explicitly stated on the liability release form)
  • Not to break any laws (local, state, or federal) while they’re attending the event
  • To follow the instructions of event staff in an emergency

These three core elements create the foundation that protects businesses from liability.

What’s not covered in an event liability waiver?

Event liability waivers specify that the signee is entering the event at their own risk. However, that doesn’t mean they have zero protection. This is where the term acting in good faith may apply. Good faith means an act done with honest intention, without unfairly taking advantage of another person.1

What does this mean? If your company is hosting a family-friendly event, you might rent an inflatable bounce house and a carousel for the kids to enjoy. When the parents sign the event liability waiver, they assume you’ve acted in good faith. They are trusting you’ve ensured the equipment is safe.

Suppose something malfunctions and an injury occurs as a result of negligence on the part of the event organizer. In that case, the business won’t be able to point to the event liability waiver and say, “You entered at your own risk.” Instead, the participants can sue the event organizer for gross negligence. Gross negligence is the conscious disregard for the safety or reasonable care of others. It covers both the person and their property.

When should you use an event liability waiver?

Lawsuits and personal representatives are expensive, and the costs of legal issues can extend beyond the financial to encompass reputational damage. That’s why it’s good practice for businesses to exercise caution.

An event liability waiver may be a good idea for events such as:

  • Music festivals
  • Charity fundraisers
  • Company parties
  • Sponsored dinner events
  • Large conferences
  • Athletic events (Think 5k runs, holiday festivities, etc.)

Does an event liability waiver protect you from lawsuits?

In short, no. Event liability waivers don’t guarantee that an attendee won’t sue you. However, an event liability waiver can provide a measure of legal protection except in instances involving gross negligence or tort-related cases, such as when the event organizer or a representative of the business intentionally harms an attendee or an attendee’s property.

Unfortunately, you can get sued for pretty much anything, no matter how frivolous. No insurance can stop that from happening. Thimble’s Event Insurance will provide your legal defense and the settlement of covered claims.

Also referred to as special event insurance, event insurance is a type of general liability insurance that offers protection to event sponsors, planners, hosts and organizers against the financial impact of third-party claims arising from injury or property damage during an event.

Event insurance for the rainy days

Even if you’re in the right, a lawsuit can be like rain at a picnic. Think of Event Insurance as your umbrella. With Thimble, you can get to work knowing we’ll help protect you from liability by creating a policy specific to your event, with game-changing flexibility at an affordable price.

Click “Get a quote” or download the Thimble mobile app, input a few details about your business, review the quote generated, and you can have a Certificate of insurance (COI) for Event Insurance as soon as you hit purchase. All it takes is 60 seconds. Need more COIs or Additional Insureds? You can have them in an instant at no additional cost. Get a quote today and get the party started.


  1. Good faith. ​​