Writing a Strong Hold Harmless Letter
A hold harmless clause in a contract or a hold harmless letter between two people or parties is a legal agreement to limit legal liability for one particular matter or several things. The agreement states that one party agrees to hold the other party free from the responsibility for any liability or damage that may be the result of the transaction involved.
What should the hold harmless agreement contain?
To create a hold harmless letter, there are some key provisions that the letter must cover about protection from liability.
- The name and address of the party who will be protected from liability
- The name of the specific person who is signing on behalf of the party who is being protected, if it is not the person
- The name and address of the party who is providing the protection
- The name of the specific person who is signing of behalf of the party that is providing protection, if it is not the person
- The date the agreement becomes effective is the day it is signed
- The state law that applies
There are three main types of protection a person can get in a hold harmless agreement:
- Services provided by Mr. Smith for Mr. Jones. If Mr. Smith is painting Mr. Jones’s house, Mr. Jones could give Mr. Smith a hold harmless agreement in writing that states that Mr. Smith doesn’t hold Mr. Jones responsible for anything that happens while painting the house.
- General protection is for specific occurrences that are described in the agreement. For example, the students of a university may give a hold harmless agreement to the school stating that the school is not responsible for anything that happens while the students are using the swimming pool for a specific occasion.
- Using someone else’s property such as by Mr. Jones using Mr. Smith’s property for a barbeque means that Mr. Jones gives a hold harmless agreement to Mr. Smith excluding him from any liability during the barbeque party. In these letters, the address of the property, the use of the property and the exact time and date of use must be clearly stated in the agreement.
Laws Are Different in Many States
The laws are different in many states, so it is important to know if a letter is legally valid. If the language is overly broad, some states will not uphold the letter. Also, hold harmless agreements are prohibited in some construction scenarios.
Before writing a hold harmless letter, it is recommended to consult an attorney for the specific language for individual needs. It may also be a good idea for the person considering a hold harmless agreement to read their liability insurance police for any specific requirements.