What is a Disclaimer & How to Write It – The Ultimate Guide

disclaimer

Generate Disclaimer Policy

The moment a user accesses your website, they are eligible to see your disclaimer policy. This will protect your business and warn the users to take equal responsibility in the information exchange. For example, if your website is providing a service and information that could potentially result in litigation. A suitable disclaimer will protect it against inaccurate information lawsuits.

The Disclaimer definition

A disclaimer is an important document that should appear on every website. It is able to protect the owner of the website from potential legal action from users accessing the website. It also helps in creating awareness for the website visitors. They can learn about the extent of the responsibility that the website is willing to take

However, what you must know is that a disclaimer cannot guarantee that there will be no unwanted litigation. Claims against your business may still come up. Though it will be able to act as a means of protection. The disclaimer message or policy shows that your business has covered its bases. It provides necessary coverage in case of abuse of your content or service if found.

A lot of elements of your website may not be covered by this policy. However, there may be various elements of your website that can be covered by a disclaimer. This is where you get the protection that you need.

The features that can be covered include:

  • The accuracy of the content on your website
  • A disclaimer will protect you if inaccurate content causes a loss to a third party
  • Protecting your business against what is not claimed
  • Copyright and Trademarks
  • Transmission of viruses to the visitor’s computer
  • Physical injury from products sold
  • Any issues can be covered in the disclaimer that you choose to add

The protection from all of the above-mentioned areas allows you to stay safe from a wide range of lawsuits, grounds for litigation and legal trouble. That could mean monetary and reputational loss. Hence the importance of a disclaimer that is well thought out and appropriate to your business.

The relevance of the disclaimer

With the advent of the internet and new technologies, it has never been easier to start a new business. However, with new technologies comes new law. The law is developed to protect the public from chaos and manipulation.

“Businesses unknowingly can infringe upon the rights of the general public. This is why laws like data protection are in place to protect their interest. Businesses that do not uphold the law can be reprimanded in a strong manner.”

So in order to ensure your business runs smoothly and efficiently; you need to avoid potential legal issues by ensuring that you have all the key policies and procedures in place.

If your business has a website, a disclaimer is essential to protect your business against potential legal issues. Therefore; it needs to be well thought through and relevant to limit
liabilities and protect your business.

Proceed with caution

One important aspect here is that it is just a warning not an ablution from responsibility. A disclaimer does not fully protect your business against legal action. It is worthwhile having it in place yet, it may not be able to limit legal action. Legal action can be taken by an individual regardless of whether a disclaimer exists or not. The disclaimer does help in the process of legal hearings, negotiations and legal proceedings.

Key benefits:

A professional disclaimer is more likely to protect your business from court action. It can be helpful in an improved capacity. This is because it is created on the basis of the law. On the other hand, an unreasonable disclaimer definition could be dismissed by the courts as not acceptable.

We have seen several ridiculous and unhelpful disclaimers put up on sites that can actually create further problems in an esteemed court of law.

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Your business will require a serious, comprehensive and helpful disclaimer even if the chances of people suing your organisation are low. The impact of a business on its environment is diverse and widespread. The law protects civilians in more than one way. Any mix up can cost you time and money.

You will be able to do well with a disclaimer that works for your business rather than a comic post or non-serious attempt at creating one. This is why we recommend using the Seers Policy Pack to produce a policy generator to get you one.

Is a disclaimer the same as terms and conditions?

People often confuse a disclaimer as the terms and conditions document. This is because you will find a similar context in both. However, they are two separate documents.

The terms and conditions are a completely different document to a disclaimer. Although many people believe they are the same, you should not.

It is important to appreciate how they differ. Both may be required by your organisation, so it is essential to understand how they operate.

Here’s how a disclaimer should be used on your website:

“A disclaimer is used on websites to reduce their liability. On the other hand, terms and conditions documents define the rules and guidelines recommended by the organisation. They suggest the ways a website should be used. Such as a requirement that a minor cannot buy your services.”

Terms and conditions in a nutshell:

The terms and conditions document outlines characteristics or acceptable and unacceptable behaviours. These are like prerequisites for visitors.

A typical terms and conditions document may contain guidelines such as:

  • Clearly defining how the website can be used by visitors to the website
  • Describing any limitation of the website and how the content can be interpreted
  • Defining who is permitted to use the website and for what purpose
  • Confirming any copyrights that may exist and whether content or images may be reproduced.

Noteworthy:

There will be elements that may appear on both the terms and conditions and the disclaimer. Yet there are several that are characteristic to one but not the other and vice versa. Thus, it is imperative that these documents must be treated differently. They are both unique items with some intersectional areas.

The key elements of your disclaimer

The wording on your disclaimer will depend on each website. It is therefore not possible to have a standard disclaimer definition or model that works for all.

The disclaimer policy is not a one size that fits all. It is not something that you can pick up from another website either. Since it will work across many websites you will need a unique one suited to your business.

For this purpose, you can use our careful and comprehensive policy pack. With your own insight and input you can use this creative skeleton or automated tool to get you the right policy.

A disclaimer template could be used to form the basis of your website disclaimer, but it is important to fully customise your disclaimer to exactly meet your business requirements.

There are certain elements that should be considered and should appear within a disclaimer policy on a website.

The accuracy of content and information

Information on your website could inadvertently contain errors that could potentially leave your business open to legal action. Use your disclaimer to excuse yourself from the responsibility of it affecting your users.

For example, a financial speculation firm may speculate but they should be able to post content without being held liable. Through a disclaimer they may be able to avoid any damages. This can be very helpful when the prophecy is shunned or deemed untrue.

A clause within your disclaimer confirming that the business cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information is an essential inclusion and one of the most important disclaimers to include.

Physical liability

If your business is selling products online, another essential disclaimer relates to any physical injuries that could be caused by one of your products.

This could be related to a faulty product or misuse of a product. The disclaimer will help to protect your business against such claims.

Content ownership

If your business is the legal owner of the content on your website, the ownership of the content can be defined within the disclaimer.

Plagiarism is common across the internet, but ensuring a sufficient clause is included in your disclaimer. This may help to deter others from reproducing your content without permission.

Third-party responsibility

With many websites using third-party tools or including third party advertisements on their website, thus a clause covering third-party responsibility is an important inclusion in your disclaimer policy.

The action of third parties is outside of the control of the businesses, therefore the disclaimer should clearly state that your business has no control over the actions of each third party and accepts no liability.

These are just some of the standard clauses that should be included in your disclaimer. However, it is essential that the disclaimer is tailored exactly to your business requirements. If the disclaimer is to serve the purpose it has been designed for.

Using a disclaimer from another website

This is an approach that should not be taken, as a disclaimer that is replicated is unlikely to protect your business. Since very few businesses are the same, so bespoke disclaimers are essential.

Reviewing disclaimers from other similar sites may give some guidance. The end result should be a disclaimer tailored exactly for your business.

Disclaimer templates, are they useful?

A template may be useful for creating the basis of your disclaimer but using a template for your final disclaimer policy is not recommended.

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Businesses may be similar, but each will have different approaches and processes. So only a disclaimer policy that is tailored for your business, by someone who understands your business, will provide a viable solution.

An improved alternative to using a disclaimer template would be to use a disclaimer generator. A disclaimer generator is a better approach than using a template. It can be used as a detailed set of questions are provided to capture the necessary business information.

As long as detailed responses are provided, the disclaimer generator will create your custom disclaimer in line with your business requirements.

The disclaimer for your business

A disclaimer should be in place to protect your business against potential legal claims. Should legal action be taken against your business for inaccurate information on your website. For example, the disclaimer policy will prove a key document and help to protect your business against liability, should the action result in a court case.

A disclaimer is a waiver of responsibility that defines the role of the organisation in terms of sharing liability. This may be targeted towards the employees, the data subjects or the government. A disclaimer may show a sign such as a notice for the public.

This may read as a warning or a piece of information necessary for making an informed choice under the law.

The disclaimer may deny:

  • Or limit the liability in a legal setting
  • Reduce the responsibility of an organisation in legal matters
  • Or impart the responsibility to the employees in a legal case scenario
  • Attribute or exercise delegation of the liability to other parties involved by reducing their own
  • This helps in defining all organisations or groups of people involved in key decision making. The disclaimer may help in creating awareness regarding the important figures involved in the protection of rights of individuals and the special role of the employees of the organisation in providing them.
  • The disclaimer may show that the information is only intended for the specific recipient and original receiver, who will be held responsible in case of a breach and that website cookies may also be active amongst other measures.

Your website disclaimer

Your business terms and conditions and website disclaimer are essential documents if your business operates a website.

The disclaimer cannot prevent an individual from taking legal action but having a disclaimer in place will certainly go in your favour should a legal claim result in a court hearing.

Conclusion

Ensuring that your disclaimer is well written and appropriate to your website only then it will act as a means of protection for your business, should a legal challenge arise.

All businesses should ensure that they have all the key policies and procedures in place to ensure that they are compliant with data privacy regulations to protect themselves.

Get a Disclaimer Policy for your website now!