Electronic Signature

Common Questions about Electronic Signatures

Please Note: The information on this website is intended for information purposes only. The information and materials on this website, including the FAQs, are not intended to be, nor should they be interpreted as, legal advice or opinion. Any legal advice should be obtained from an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction.

If you are considering collecting electronic signatures, it is important that you have an understanding of the validity of electronic signatures. We often hear the following questions from potential WaiverSign customers, so we’ve put together some answers for you.

Please Note: The information on this website is intended for information purposes only. The information and materials on this website, including the FAQs, are not intended to be, nor should they be interpreted as, legal advice or opinion.

Is an electronic signature enforceable by law?

Yes. An electronic signature, or “e-signature,” is as valid as a paper-and-ink signature, thanks to laws in the United States and many other countries. For example, 47 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico have all adopted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (“UETA”), a model legal framework for states to follow which makes electronic signatures as valid as traditional handwritten signatures and provides uniform guidelines for their use in commerce. The remaining three states, Illinois, New York and Washington, have their own laws making e-signatures valid. The Electronic Signatures in Global and International Commerce Act (known as the “E-Sign Act”) also provides assurance that electronic signatures will be given the same force as paper signatures. The E-Sign act also ensures that states cannot enforce laws that conflict with the goal of giving an electronic signature the respect (and validity) they deserve. Electronic signatures have been upheld in numerous court cases.

Many other countries have also enacted laws on electronic signatures. For instance, the European Union has a community framework for electronic signatures that various member states have adopted.

Are electronic signatures new?

No. Electronic signatures have been around for years. With the explosion of the Internet, businesses began searching for ways to obtain legally enforceable signatures online. The UETA and the E-Sign Act were adopted to provide a legal framework to ensure that e-signatures are just as valid as traditional paper-and-ink signatures. The UETA was adopted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 1999, and Congress passed the E-Sign Act in 2000.

How can I obtain an electronic signature on an important agreement?

An electronic signature is basically any electronic indicator associated with a contract that is used by a person to show acceptance. There are many different types of electronic signatures, everything from clicking a box, to a name typed into an online form, to a faxed signature to an encrypted “digital signature.” The state and federal laws governing the validity of electronic signatures are technology neutral – no one type of electronic signature is favored over another. That means you are free to choose the electronic signature solution that works best for your company. The WaiverSign service is an easy-to-use, efficient way to obtain signed documents online. Companies that have relied exclusively on hard copy waivers can now leave the cumbersome paper system behind and adopt the WaiverSign service.

Why should I use an electronic signature over a paper signature?

Many businesses are increasingly moving away from paper to digital contracts, which makes sense given that these days, transactions routinely take place between companies and clients or suppliers who are located in different states or even countries. There are many reasons to choose an electronic signature solution over paper signatures.

First, the WaiverSign electronic signature service is less expensive than a paper system because it saves your company the cost of paper, printer-related items, storage space, filing cabinets, and time.

Second, an electronic signature service such as the WaiverSign service can provide a better audit trail for signatures than paper signatures you get through the mail or even on site. After all, when you send a waiver or other document out for signature, you can’t be sure who actually signs the document. The WaiverSign service records the signer’s IP address and a timestamp of when the waiver was signed and requests information such as name, address, date of birth, email address and driver’s license number (in the case of parent / guardian signatures). This information is validated if the format is correct as entered. All this information is maintained as part of the signature’s audit trail, so you will always be able to access this evidence of the signature’s validity.

The WaiverSign service also gives you a greater ability to track and access digital liability waivers efficiently from anywhere in your organization, without running to a file cabinet. Finally, an electronic signature service like WaiverSign reduces the burden on your personnel, including those in the field who would otherwise have to try to get your customers to sign paper waivers at the last minute.

What is the best way to store documents signed with electronic signatures?

There are many options to store documents signed with electronic signatures. You can take the old-school approach: print out a paper copy and file it. You can also store the document electronically, on a hard drive or server in your office or online with a digital storage service. Or you can do a combination of these for redundancy – whatever works best for your company. It is important to store the document in a format that can be easily accessed and viewed when you need it.

If you choose to use WaiverSign, your service includes secure online storage of your electronically signed documents, along with the signature audit trail. The WaiverSign service is easy to use and allows you find a signed digital waiver within seconds – a perfect complement to your storage choice.

​Are insurance companies happy with the digital liability waiver process?

From banking to real estate transactions, more and more industries rely on, and indeed prefer, the electronic approach to serving up documents, and receiving signatures. That said, we recommend that you confirm with your own insurance carrier that they accept electronic liability waiver forms with electronic signatures.

​How can we be sure that each participant individually signed a waiver?

As with paper liability waivers, there is no guarantee that each individual signed their own waiver, however, the WaiverSign process provides many features not available with paper waivers. WaiverSign records the signer’s IP address and a timestamp as to when the liability waiver was signed. This information is a feature of the document’s audit trail. WaiverSign also requests information from each participant who submits a signature, including name, address, date of birth, email address and, in some instances, a driver’s license or other unique document identification number. Much of this information is checked for accuracy and completeness when it’s entered in the online form. With paper waivers, participants can simply have a spouse, friend or other person sign on their behalf. The steps taken by WaiverSign are more robust than when someone simply turns in a paper waiver form that could have been signed by someone else. That said, we also recommend that you discuss with your lawyer your current process for administering waivers and ensuring all participants have signed prior to their participation in any of your services. There are many other steps that you can work into your business processes that will help act as a defense if necessary.

Is my participant information secure online?

Is my participant information secure online?WaiverSign takes the privacy and security of its customers’ information seriously. WaiverSign adheres to national and international security standards that are designed to protect customer data, including SSL, OAuth 2.0, and Amazon Web Storage. In the event of any data breach, WaiverSign will respond quickly and promptly notify customers.

​Are online waivers valid in my state or province?

Each state or province may have different laws regarding the use and process for using online waivers. This is another important question you should discuss with your lawyer as you are reviewing your conversion from paper waivers to online.

​Should waivers be filled out in advance?

Legal opinions on this may vary, so you should check with your own legal counsel about your particular service, but often the thought is that providing the link in advance gives your participants ample time to understand the risks prior to any time they may invest in traveling to your location or the possibility that they may be rushed in filling out your waiver due to a late arrival.

​How do I put my digital release form or waiver on my website?

It is so important for your customers to be able to find a link to your waiver on your website! The steps are fairly simple. In a nutshell, you’re going to build a page on your website, introduce your online waiver on the page, and add a button that links to your online waiver. You’ll find the link creator under WaiverSign > Edit Documents > Create Link to Documents. If that sounds complicated, WaiverSign’s web team will be happy to help you set it up.

​How can I add a link to my online waiver in an email?

Just visit WaiverSign > Edit Documents > Create Link to Documents. You’ll simply copy the link and paste it into the body of the email that you’re sending.

​How do I set up a kiosk for my online liability waiver?

Setting up a kiosk does require some additional hardware like an iPad (or other tablet) and a kiosk enclosure for the tablet. Once you have that, you’re ready to install the kiosk application and set the “homepage” of the kiosk to your waiver signing process. WaiverSign has a special “kiosk mode” that you can select when grabbing the link to your document(s) at WaiverSign > Edit Documents > Create Link to Documents. This kiosk mode will actually cause a countdown to appear on the screen when there hasn’t been any activity for a while. If the countdown runs out and the user does not request more time, the kiosk will reset to the start screen so that the next person who approaches the kiosk is not confused as to where to start.

​Can my participants sign multiple liability forms at once in WaiverSign?

Yes! WaiverSign makes it incredibly easy for your participants to only fill out their information once and then sign as many documents as needed, using that same participant information. Many businesses will present more than one document such as a liability waiver, followed by a photographic consent form, followed by a rental agreement. This division of documents allows the critical liability waiver to not get diluted with the wording of the other documents that also require online signatures.

​Can I collect custom information on my liability waiver?

In addition to 16 optional standard fields, WaiverSign also provides the ability to add an unlimited number of custom fields. You can select from a general text field or text area, a drop down list with single selection, or a checkbox list with multiple selection.

​Do I own my waiver once I build it in WaiverSign?

Yes. Whatever you enter in WaiverSign is your content and you are ultimately responsible for any updates or edits to that content.

​Can I market to my contacts who fill out waivers?

WaiverSign does provide a checkbox for your participants to specify whether they wish to receive or not receive communication by email from your business. Each person who signs an online release of liability or similar document will appear under “contacts” inside the application. These contacts can be exported and used for marketing or other purposes. However, you must not send marketing emails to those who have opted NOT to receive emails from you. If you do, you run the risk of being flagged as spam which will make it harder for you to deliver emails to those who actually want to receive emails from you.

​Can I export my lists?

WaiverSign allows you to export lists for all your contacts as well as those who have signed during a specific date range or for participants who have signed for a specific event.

​What do I do if someone wants to sign on paper?

Legally, you need offer the ability to sign on paper even though you offer a service to sign online. Make sure the wording in your paper waiver is kept up to date with the wording in your online waiver. Keep several paper waivers on hand and a PDF copy of your paper waiver as well in case you need to send it to someone by email.

How do I get all the participant data from signed waivers into my primary system?

WaiverSign provides integration capabilities for third party systems that allow the participant data to automatically sync. If this type of integration is not available with your system, you can simply use WaiverSign as the primary storage location for participant data and even generate email lists and other reports directly from WaiverSign.

​Can I organize my waivers into groups or all they all lumped together?

In WaiverSign, you can create groups of signed waivers by creating an event. An event can be as simple as a name or it can contain an event name and a date and time. Perhaps you manage race events and each race takes place in a different location on a specific date. You want to view signed waivers for each individual race and perhaps have a coordinator or manager over each race who has access to see who has signed for each event. You can easily set up these individual events inside WaiverSign and then create a link to sign your waiver that also associates the specific event to that signature. Alternatively, you can let your participants select the event in which they are participating when they sign your online waiver.

​Can I present a document in the language of my participant?

WaiverSign currently offers english and spanish versions of the signing process. If you need to present your liability waiver in another language, let us know and we can build an additional language bundle to support that language. You will be responsible for the actual translation of your liability waiver or other document into any languages.

​How can I make sure all required fields have been filled out by each participant?

The electronic signature process of WaiverSign ensures that each participant fills in information for every required field. Formats for phone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth and others are validated to ensure proper formatting and completeness. A liability waiver or agreement cannot be submitted until these required fields are properly filled in.

​How will I know that each participant has filled out a waiver prior to participation?

WaiverSign makes it easy to lookup participants by name or an entire group at once by using a group id number to ensure signed liability waivers have been submitted. WaiverSign also provides integration for third party systems such as Resmark Reservation & Marketing System, which allows you to easily see the esign status of all participants. If any participants are missing, WaiverSign can be used to collect the signed waivers for these individuals

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