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Thoughts on Liability Waivers

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Helihover, Jul 27, 2016.

  1. Helihover

    Jun 23, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Two weeks ago I shot a video that required me to fly over people. We had 20 people or so in this group (friends of friends). Before the flight I had everyone sign a release form and a liability waiver. We discussed the dangers of having a drone overhead and all was well. Video turned out great!

    I now have a job of shooting stills for a soccer camp tomorrow. I've explained how I would not be able to fly directly overhead. The waiver thing came up in the conversation and the assisting photographer explained how these kids are already under a waiver and release through their soccer organization.

  2. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Western North Carolina
    I'm afraid you're opening up a can of worms you may want to avoid with flying over people. If something happens I don't think that waiver will amount to any good because you're going directly against the "Community Based Guidelines" as well as the agreement you accepted when you registered your aircraft. An attorney would have a field day with you if all of those facts come to light.

    When you say "Job to do" you've opened up a brand new can of worms for "Commercial Operations". But either way fly safe :)
  3. tcope

    Jan 29, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    First, you should consult an attorney or at least discuss this with your insurance company.

    I can give you a little bit of insight on this matter but there are a lot of variables that are unknown (the state where this is taking place, the wording of their or your waiver, etc.).

    Several states won’t allow waivers in many situations. Almost no state will enforce one against a minor child. They are still important to have as they do provide some level of defense. In your case I doubt any court would enforce the waiver as the child is there to play soccer, not directly agreeing to have a drone flown over-head. You’d _not_ want to rely on a waiver from another party. I’ve not seen it but I can almost _guarantee_ that it would not apply to you anyway. There is a second part of a waiver that is more important and why you should not rely on someone else’s waiver (it’s really two parts). Most waivers contain an indemnification clause. This is important when it comes to a child as the parent cannot waive their child’s rights. The indemnification portion holds the parent responsible to protect the person who has the release. So if the child sues you, you go back to the parent and require them to defend you in the matter. This does not always work but it’s valuable. The second part of this is that it brings other insurance to the table. This is why someone else’s release is about worthless to you. (unless you are an additional insured under their policy).

    As mentioned above, if you want a better understanding of what you should do I’d recommend speaking to your insurance company and/or a local attorney.
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