It is rarely read and can still act as a life insurance for your company: the Escape Room waiver. But what is it used for at all? And why is it so complicated to write it? We clarify the most important questions and offer a template for download.
Designing rooms, tinkering with puzzles and leading games is a lot of fun. Less fun for most escape room operators is the administrative part of their work – but it is just as important for the long-term success of the company.
Whether you want to start an escape room or are already working in the industry: You should protect your business from potential lawsuits. That’s what the escape room waiver is used for.
What is a waiver?
A waiver is a contractual agreement that excludes or limits the liability of a person in certain cases. In the case of an escape room, for example, this means that you, as the operator, cannot be held liable if a player is injured on your premises.
Have you not yet taken care of your escape room waiver yet? Don’t worry, you are not alone in this.
However, every escape room operator should formulate a waiver and have it signed by their players. Otherwise, in the worst case scenario, a visitor could injure herself, sue you, and you could face a heavy fine.
We all know that escape rooms usually do not make millions of dollars in winnings. Therefore, a penalty payment could mean the end of the game. An escape room waiver is like life insurance for your company.
3 examples of when legal action can be taken
At this point we would like to expressly point out that we are not lawyers and that this does not constitute legal advice. Our goal is simply to make you aware of the importance of a waiver for escape rooms.
While it may seem unlikely to you that customers will be injured in your rooms, there is definitely a risk of injury. After all, players are under stress and may be careless.
- Suppose you have an escape room where players need to lift a heavy item. A player tries to move that item and sprains his back.
- In one of your scenarios, a dark, narrow tunnel connects two rooms. One of the players gets a panic attack in the passage.
- You have a sharp edge or a pointed object in your escape room, and a player gets hurt.
What does a waiver NOT cover me for?
Without a waiver for your escape room, it can get expensive for you in the mentioned cases. A waiver protects you against many accidents – but not all. Not to be excluded is the liability for:
- intentional wrong or grossly negligent acts by you or your staff,
- in cases of injury to life, body or health,
- the violation of essential contractual obligations and
- aspects that are excluded in the product liability law.
Please note that these points may differ depending on your country of origin.
Are you looking for new escape room ideas? Check out our post featuring 5 Youtube channels with great inspirational videos.
What should an escape room waiver contain in any case?
In your escape room waiver you should exclude the most important and most common reasons for complaints. You don’t have to name every case specifically, but you should remain rather general in the wording to exclude as many cases as possible.
The basic idea is that your customers confirm with their signature that they are aware that they are taking a certain risk by playing.
The players must confirm that:
- they know that an escape room may require a certain amount of physical activity and effort,
- it is impossible for you as the operator to foresee any of their actions and take safety measures against any risk of injury,
- they are responsible for their own safety and it is in their own interest not to take any unforeseeable risks, and
- they are aware of the risks in an escape room and they voluntarily participate.
Please note that these points may vary depending on your country of origin.
How do I write a waiver?
Preferably with a lawyer. Because waivers are usually formulated in a very covert manner and are difficult for non-lawyers to understand. It is therefore better to seek professional help.
To give you an idea of what a waiver for escape rooms should look like, we have prepared a template for you. However, we would like to point out once more that we are not lawyers and we recommend that you adapt our template to your company together with a lawyer or with a waiver letter wrting service.
Interesting side fact: If you run an escape room as a franchise, you usually get a waiver template from your franchisor.
What are the pitfalls?
This is another reason why you should consult a lawyer when writing a waiver for your escape room: There are several pitfalls. Probably more than in the classic video game “Pitfall!“.
If you really have to go to court because of an accident in your premises and there are wordings in your waiver that can be interpreted to your disadvantage, then an opposing attorney will do so. Regardless of your business.
It can become serious if:
- your escape room waiver is incomplete.
- Your waiver should cover too much and is unspecific. It is important that you mainly refer to activities that actually take place on your premises.
- Your waiver contains ambiguous wording. As indicated above, it is often crucial how a particular clause is worded in order to stand up in court.
- Your security measures were not sufficient. If there are really serious flaws in your escape room that endanger the safety of customers, a waiver will not save you.
Not only does it sound complicated, it actually is. Therefore, not even a perfectly worded escape room waiver does exempt you from taking out additional insurance to protect your business, such as liability insurance. In many cases the liability insurance will cover expenses for damages.
Signing the escape room waiver: paper or digital?
In the early days of escape rooms many customers had to sign a printed waiver. This resulted in thick folders with documents that no one looked at later. But there was simply no other option.
In the meantime, the process is mostly digital. Often customers do not even have to sign a document, but confirm that they are aware of the risks when ordering their tickets. All that is needed is a tick in the order process. In this article about Escape Room Software we have summarized the most interesting offers for you.
If your booking system does not support the integration of the waiver, you can also present the document to the customer digitally on a tablet. This saves a lot of time and space compared to the paper version – printing and filing are therefore not necessary.
Once you have completed the annoying but important wording of the waiver for your escape room, there is nothing to stop you from having fun designing rooms, tinkering with puzzles and giving customers a great time playing your games.