A Disclaimer May Save Your Business
In our litigious society, a disclaimer may save your business. As small business owners, we face the threat of legal action daily. And if it happens, the costs include money, time, stress, and a hit to business reputation. Lawsuits can even be the death knell for a small business.
While avoiding every legal claim may not be possible, limiting risk of a lawsuit IS possible! And a disclaimer is one tool you can use to limit that risk.
What is a Disclaimer?
A disclaimer is a statement denying responsibility or liability for specific acts or omissions.
What is a Disclaimer’s Purpose?
A disclaimer’s purpose is to prevent or mitigate potential legal claims or liability. It is an easy and inexpensive way to limit what your business can be held responsible for. By posting a disclaimer you tell the world that you do not accept responsibility for certain actions or outcomes and advise your clients or website visitors that reliance on your products or services or the information on your website is at their own risk.
When Should I Use One?
Whenever you have a specific type of liability you are trying to avoid or steer clear of, a disclaimer may be your answer!
What Type of Disclaimer Do I Need?
There are as many different types of disclaimers as there are types of businesses. Here are a few types of disclaimers you may want to use for your business.
If your website provides links to other websites, an external link disclaimer is a good idea. This disclaimer disavows any liability for the content of the linked sites.
Any website that has blog posts or informational content beyond contact information and services provided by your business can benefit from an errors and omissions disclaimer. This protects you and your business against liability for unintentional inaccuracy in the content on your website.
Do you use stock photos on your website? If so, an image disclaimer is always a nice addition. This tells your visitors that the people in the photos are not affiliated with your company and that they cannot use the images under your license.
Are you offering a course, coaching program, membership, or product for which the client will expect certain results? Then a warranty disclaimer is a must-have! The warranty disclaimer lets the client or visitor know that you do not guarantee any specific results and are not responsible for the client’s or visitor’s outcomes after using your product or service. This is particularly important if you have no control or are not directly involved in the use or implementation of your product or service by the client.
If your business in any way delves into nutrition, physical fitness, wellness or health, you will want a medical disclaimer. This type of disclaimer discloses to clients or visitors that you are not a licensed medical practitioner and do not diagnose or treat medical conditions. (Unless you are, in which case you may wish to disclose your qualifications). Additionally, this disclaimer typically advises the client or visitor to consult with the appropriate licensed professional.
If your business provides professional services such as medical, legal, or financial services, you will need an industry specific disclaimer on your website. This disclaimer advises the visitor that no professional relationship arises as a result of accessing the website, that the materials available on the website are for educational and informational purposes and do not constitute professional advice, and that the visitor should seek professional advice relative to their own concerns or issues.
Where Should I Put the Disclaimer?