What Is a Hold Harmless Agreement?

Nov 6th, 2014 | By | Category: Hold Harmless

What Is a Hold Harmless Agreement?

A Hold Harmless Agreement is used to protect one party from liability due to the actions of another party. It is typically used in situation where services are being provided, a party is using the property of another, or when a party is participating in an activity hosted by another. When a Hold Harmless Agreement is completed, the party agrees not to hold another party responsible for injuries, damages, and other losses and liabilities.

A Hold Harmless Agreement may not always be valid. It may become invalid due to one of the parties engaging in negligent behavior, illegal activities, or commits fraud.

In addition to information about both parties, the terms should be included in this contract. Both parties should sign the agreement after negotiating the terms and reviewing them carefully. These contracts typically do not require a witness or notary, but these can be used for an extensive Hold Harmless Agreement if desired.

In today’s litigation-heavy business environment, more and more companies are turning to hold harmless agreements and clauses to protect themselves from expensive and often devastating litigation. A hold harmless agreement is a document or clauses within a document that releases one or both parties from any potential legal claims. This includes any injury, damage or other claim that might arise during or after the transaction or activity between the entities.

A hold harmless form may be used alone or as part of a more involved liability waiver. Essentially, the individual or business signing the hold harmless template is agreeing to accept and be responsible for any risks while dealing with the company – including injury or death. A hold harmless form may is used when an entity wants to avoid all legal and financial responsibility in relation to those they deal with.

It is important to note, however, that a hold harmless agreement does not make a business invincible, nor does it free them from standard, reasonable and legal responsibilities that they have. These responsibilities include following local rules and regulations to ensure an environment that is as safe and secure as possible. If they do not follow these procedural and safety requirements, then a hold harmless template will likely offer little or no protection.

For instance, sports clubs and gyms often include hold harmless clauses in their membership contracts. These hold harmless clauses will probably protect them from litigation that arises from no real fault of their own, such as a runner who trips and falls off of a treadmill. Individuals have, and will likely continue to, sue businesses for injuries that were no reasonable fault of theirs – and, sometimes, they win a settlement that can cripple or destroy the business. This is why having a hold harmless template in use is so important; it provides some measure of protection from malicious litigation.

However, it is important to note that it does not free businesses from basic, common sense responsibilities. If the business has knowledge of a faulty piece of machinery and does not use signage on it while broken or fix it in a timely manner, then they are liable for any injury obtained as a result. If the aforementioned runner falls off of the treadmill and breaks his or her leg because of a faulty mechanism in the treadmill that the business had been made aware of, then it is probable that no hold harmless agreement would mitigate their liability.

Hold harmless agreements are simple to incorporate in your day to day business practices, and can provide an important level of protection from unfair litigation. Once a hold harmless template has been put in place, it generally only requires the participant’s signature to become legally binding and provide peace of mind for the business owner.

 

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