Can my neighbor sign a waiver in regard to my helping him with home improvements?

My neighbor needs help installing new light fixture. Can I have him sign a waiver of some sort releasing me from future liabilities? If so, what language should I put in the agreement?

Asked on August 25, 2016 under Personal Injury, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Waivers are not absolute: they will protect you from ordinary negligence or carelessness, but generally not from gross negligence (excessive or extreme carelessness) or from intentional wrongful acts. So if, for example, some technical skill is needed to do this and you have misrepresnted or overestimated your skill and cause damage to his property, you could be liable because it is more than ordinarily careless to try to do something technical with electicity or construction when you lack that skill or training.
That said, they do, as stated, offer some protection from originary mistakes and their consequences. A waiver can be very simple: it can simply state in plain language that in exchange for your help in installing the fixture, he releases you from any and all liability, whether for property damage,personal injury, or otherwise, arising out of the installation of the fixture and agrees to not sue you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.