No matter your niche, including a legal disclaimer is a good idea.
You’ve surely seen it. Whether looking for tax advice, medical guidance, or general how-to info, just about every major publication is in the habit of including a handy legal disclaimer with each article and eBook. Why? Because it protects them from major liabilities they could incur if they didn’t have such a statement.
What is a Legal Disclaimer?
To put it simply, a “no responsibility” legal disclaimer is a statement that explains you hold no liability for your readers’ actions. In other words, it explains that you/your business cannot be held responsible for any damages a person may incur from the information, product(s), and/or service(s) you offer.
Since these statements limit your legal liability for what you publish, they’re often called “no responsibility” disclaimers. It’s advised that you include a blanket disclaimer page for your website. However, it won’t hurt to include a disclaimer with every article, too.
Including a disclaimer is particularly important if you’re publishing anything that could be misconstrued as legal, financial, or medical advice.
Examples of No Responsibility Disclaimers
Medical Disclaimer Example
Writing on health conditions, weight loss, or something similar? Remember to remind your readers that your writing is not intended to replace or substitute the advice of their healthcare provider. Advise them to seek a doctor’s guidance before changing anything they’re doing.
The information presented here is in no way intended to substitute advice from a medical professional. Do not disregard advice from your healthcare provider or delay seeking medical attention because of information you read here. Always seek guidance from your doctor before changing or adding to any part of your healthcare regime.
Depending on the type of medical writing you’re doing (i.e., “how to lose weight” vs. “how to treat a wound”), you’ll need to alter this disclaimer accordingly. If your advice could be misconstrued as emergency medical advice, include a line advising the reader to seek medical attention immediately. You might even need to tell them to call 911 if they are having a medical emergency.
Legal Disclaimer Example
If you offer guidance relating to tax laws or anything that could get interpreted as legal advice, you need to include a legal advice disclaimer. Niche examples include info on real estate, trust funds, etc. Below is a common legal advise disclaimer example, but it may or may not apply to your specific content.
This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. As such, you should not rely on any information found here as tax, legal, or accounting advice. Always consult a professional advisor for guidance before engaging in a transaction. My Company, LLC takes no responsibility for any risks, debts, or liabilities you incur as a result of information offered on this website.
You can find an example very similar to this on one of JPMorgan.com‘s many regulatory disclaimer pages.
Financial Disclaimer Example
Offering information on banking products? How about tax obligations? Your disclaimer will likely have a lot of overlap with the legal disclaimer example given above, but a more specific financial disclaimer may look something like the following.
The content shared on this website is for informational purposes only. You assume the sole responsibility of examining the merits and risks of a potential product, service, or transaction before engaging in such. My Company, LLC takes no responsibility for any risks, debts, or liabilities you incur as a result of information offered on this website. Furthermore, My Company, LLC does not endorse any companies or products mentioned on this website.
Remember, even if you aren’t trying to offer financial advice, you need a disclaimer if you talk about lending, investing, or other such topics.
What Should Your Disclaimer Include?
Now that you have an idea of what common disclaimers look like, remember that every project is different. Here’s our disclaimer for this piece: You should consult a legal professional to help you write a disclaimer that covers all your bases. Don’t use the examples found here as they may not fit your specific scenario.
In general, your disclaimer needs to consider your niche and the information you’re offering. Moreover, it needs to protect you from claims of endorsing a product, extending an offer, or making guarantees to your reader(s). Additionally, if you have affiliates or sponsors, you might need even more disclaimers.
So, to sum it up, now that you know that you probably need a legal disclaimer, find a lawyer. A legal professional will be in the best position to write a disclaimer that will actually protect you.