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What Is a Waiver Agreement?

When a waiver agreement is signed an individual gives up their right to sue another in the event of an accident.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2014
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A waiver agreement is typically a document through which a person or company agrees to release another party from legal responsibility or gives up a particular right or privilege. For example, a person may waive the right to sue another party in the event of an accident by signing a waiver agreement. An individual may also sign a waiver agreement giving up his right to contest something or pursue ownership or rights to property or assets. In most cases, a waiver agreement is written, but it is possible to waive one's rights through actions as well. The laws regarding waivers may vary from place to place, however.

The manner in which a waiver agreement may be used depends on a jurisdiction’s laws. In many places, however, these documents are used to waive one’s right to sue a company in the event that an injury or damage to property is sustained. For example, a person who wants to participate in a company’s rock-climbing activities may have to sign a waiver that says he will hold the company harmless in the event that he is injured during the rock-climbing tour. Likewise, a person who goes on a tour or organized travel excursion may sometimes sign a waiver agreement releasing the company offering the tour from liability.

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Sometimes waiver agreements are also used by colleges that offer health insurance coverage to their students. In such a case, a student may not want to exercise his right to participate in the college’s health plan. To keep his own insurance and avoid paying fees for the student health insurance plan, he may sign a waiver agreement. Generally, this waiver would state that he is aware of the health plan and is voluntarily waiving his right to participate in it because he already has coverage.

An insurance company may also ask a person to sign a waiver. If, for example, a person is buying insurance from an agent, the agent may attempt to sell him a particular type of recommended insurance or include additional coverage in the policy he’s chosen. If the party does not want the added insurance, he may be asked to sign a waiver agreement stating that he understands that the other insurance is available to him but does not want it.

In some cases, a person’s actions may serve as a waiver of his rights or privileges, even if he does not sign a waiver. For example, if a person is ordered to provide proof of a matter to a court but refuses to obey the order, his actions may serve as a waiver of some of his legal rights. In some jurisdictions, this refusal to comply may be seen as waiving one’s rights to contest a particular legal issue or decision.

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