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How to Limit Liability with Website Disclaimers

Mallory King - December 6, 2019 - Disclaimers, Internet Law, Terms of Service "TOS"

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A disclaimer is defined as “generally any statement intended to specify or delimit the scope of rights and obligations that may be exercised and enforced by parties in a legally recognized relationship . . . . the term disclaimer usually implies situations that involve some level of uncertainty, waiver, or risk.” When it comes to website disclaimers, the purpose is to limit your (the website owner) liability as it relates to the content and use of your website. Website disclaimers can either be incorporated into your Terms of Use (aka: Terms and Conditions; Terms of Service) or displayed as a standalone policy. Either way, there are certain disclaimers that every website should have and others that vary depending upon the type of content or goods/services provided through the website.

Disclaimers Every Website Should Have

Every website’s Terms of Use should contain some “boilerplate” disclaimers regardless of what the website offers or its functionality. For instance, every website should have a disclaimer that broadly limits its liability and damages available related to use of the website. This type of disclaimer could look like this:

COMPANY DISCLAIMS ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY HARM OR LIABILITY ARISING OUT OF OR RELATED TO YOUR USE OF THE WEBSITE.

Similarly, disclaimers should be use to make it clear to the user that you are providing the website on an “as-is basis” and without warranty of any kind. Disclaimers should also limit liability for the content on your website, including for errors, omissions, interruptions, deletions, defects, or alterations, as well as it relates to intellectual property violations on your website. While these boilerplate disclaimers cannot guarantee you will be shielded from liability, they put you in a decidedly better position against legal claims than you would be without them.

Website Specific Disclaimers

Every website is different and with these differences come varying needs for disclaimers that are specific to your unique website. E-Commerce websites, for example, should include disclaimers related to the products they are selling through the website to limit product liability claims, as well as disclaim responsibility for issues related to shipping and/or delivery. Legal websites, such as the disclaimer on the Traverse Legal website, need to articulate that the website’s content does not constitute legal advice. Relatedly, medical and wellness related websites must include disclaimers regarding how nothing on their website should be construed as medical advice. These disclaimers may look like this:

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

Need Disclaimers for Your Website?

Are you currently developing, or already own, a website that you need disclaimers for? Do you have a unique website design and not quite sure what disclaimers you might need? Traverse Legals’ attorneys are skilled at identifying and drafting disclaimers for a variety of websites and needs. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help limit your liability stemming from your website and its content.

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