What is a Disclaimer Notice?

Ken Black

A disclaimer notice is a short passage typically telling a reader that the person responsible for the information or service has no responsibility should some problem result from use of that information or service. The question of whether various types of disclaimers are an effective legal defense often comes up, especially once one party has sued. In general a legal disclaimer notice does not totally absolve the party issuing it of negligence or wrong doing, but could help in some cases.

Disclaimers must be clearly communicated.
Disclaimers must be clearly communicated.

One of the most common types of disclaimers is known as the copyright and disclaimer notice, often found at the beginning of books, especially works of fiction. The disclaimer essentially tells the reader that the book is not to be taken literally. If the reader sees similarities between characters in the work of fiction and people in real life, those should be thought of as merely coincidental. Should a definitive relationship be proven that wrongfully targets and clearly identifies a person, a judge would likely make a determination as to whether the book was libelous.

Most concert tickets include a disclaimer notice and indemnity clause on the back.
Most concert tickets include a disclaimer notice and indemnity clause on the back.

A company, especially those in the entertainment industry, may also use a disclaimer notice in a number of instances. For example, theme parks may print on admission tickets that there could be inherent risks in some activities and that injury resulting may not constitute negligence on their part. If an injury would result, and a were lawsuit filed, the company could stand on the legal disclaimer, but if found in violation of safety laws or practices, it could still be held accountable.

One thing a disclaimer notice does do is give the reader/customer a clear indication of what the parameters of certain situations are. For example, a lawyer describing a legal situation or defining a term on the Internet may be very helpful to some individuals who are in certain situations. The information received, however, is not legal advice, and there is often a disclaimer notice saying that. Those with concerns about legal questions should seek the advice of a personal attorney who can look into the specifics of the case and make a determination.

Those who read a disclaimer, or even sign a waiver of liability, could still sue. The disclaimer or waiver is given some weight by the court, but does not give the other party the freedom to act in any manner they choose; they are still bound by the law. Consumers who feel they have a grievance may need to consult a private attorney for further instructions. The attorney should be able to inform the consumer what his or legal rights are.

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