Class Participation Waiver of Liability Form
Instructions for Use
The State of Michigan has strong government immunity laws that provide general protections to the university and instructors from claims. For that reason, waivers and assumption of risk documents are not often utilized in our classrooms and programs. However, instructors sometimes request a general form to describe safety and other activity expectations. This form was developed to answer that request. It will not prevent a participant from filing suit; it merely helps to manage risk and expectations.
There are several practices necessary to protect instructors and the university when this form is used. Therefore, it is critical that you:
1) Ensure that the signer is over 18. The form cannot be used for minors. No parent or guardian can sign for a minor to waive risk.
2) Use a process to ensure that each participant signs and dates the form before participation in the activity. For example, use a class list to show that you received all the participant forms. If a student is signed up for the activity and does not show up (and you have no signed form) list that participant as a no-show on the roster and the form.
3) Have extra copies of the form for participants who want to keep a copy. Alternatively, you may post a copy at a site available to all or send a scanned copy by e-mail to all participants. Providing copies does not take the place of collecting signatures.
4) Use care when writing the safety practice expectations section. The concern is that by filling out this section, you are setting boundaries around what can be expected. If you exclude items, you could open the university (and yourself) to a suit. The best practice for this section is to start with specific risks and move to more general risks. Risk Management (x2745) will review the wording on the form at any time before the program activity. 5) If you use an attachment to list the safety expectations or equipment instructions, write “see attached x-page document” in the safety practice expectation section. Then have the participants initial EVERY page of the attachment.
6) For the form to protect the university, instructor, and students, there must truly be an opportunity for the student to back out of or refrain from the activity. The participant has to always have a choice.
7) There is a risk if one section of a class uses the form and another does not. Coordinate with other instructors if more than one section of a class is offered (with the same activity that triggers the use of this form). Contact Risk Management if there are coordination issues.
8) The statutes of limitations allow claims for three years. Therefore, when the grades are final, send the original forms to Risk Management for retention.
The form can be downloaded here:
Collect signatures before activity participation. Retain forms until grades are final. Transfer forms to Risk Management (x2745) after grades are final.