A disclaimer is a notice which is placed on your website in an effort to limit your liability for the outcome of the use of your site. Even if you havenít thought much about them previously, you have certainly seen disclaimers all over the web. Nearly every website has one in place, and you should as well. While a disclaimer certainly canít rule out the possibility of legal action taking place at some point in the future, it can go a long way toward protecting your best interests.
So what kinds of website elements can be covered by a disclaimer? The content on your website is usually the first place to start. Even if you make every effort to confirm the accuracy of the information you have placed on your site, it is always possible that some of the information on your pages may be inaccurate. If a website user can prove that this incorrect information has harmed them in some way, you could potentially be found liable in court. However, if you had an appropriate disclaimer in place to cover the content of your site, you may be able to successfully argue that you are not liable.
Beyond content, other pieces of your site which could be covered by a disclaimer include potential copyright issues, the transmission of viruses, and more. Technically, just about anything you place on your site can be addressed through the use of a disclaimer. As you prepare to take your site live onto the web, it is wise to think through everything you are publishing and consider placing a disclaimer on anything that you feel may open you up to a lawsuit in the future.
It does need to be highlighted that the use of a disclaimer does not in any way eliminate the possibility of a lawsuit. Anyone can file a lawsuit at any time for any reason, whether you have a disclaimer in place or not. It will be up to the courts to determine the validity of a lawsuit which has been levied against you, which is where a quality disclaimer could come into the picture. If a court determines that your disclaimers do, in fact, cover the items in question in the lawsuit, you may be protected from liability.