Hold Harmless Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Hold Harmless, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Hold Harmless?

(n) Hold Harmless is the condition or provision agreed by a person accepting all future responsibilities, cost and claim that may arise from the transaction, activity, event or agreement. This provision is generally included in the settlements where future liability may arise

History and Meaning of Hold Harmless

Hold Harmless is a concept in law that has its origins in insurance policies. It refers to a provision in a contract where one party assumes responsibility for potential legal claims or damages that may arise from an event or transaction, freeing the other party from liability. The term Hold Harmless, also referred to as indemnification or a hold harmless agreement, has since been used in various other contexts, such as construction contracts, service agreements, and leases.

The purpose of Hold Harmless agreements is to limit liability and protect parties who engage in a particular activity or contract. For example, a landlord may include a Hold Harmless provision in a lease, requiring the tenant to accept the responsibility for any damages caused by their negligence. On the other hand, a contractor may require a subcontractor to sign such an agreement to transfer responsibility for any accidents or injuries that occur on a job site.

Examples of Hold Harmless

  1. In a construction contract, the general contractor may require subcontractors to sign a Hold Harmless agreement holding them responsible for any injuries to their employees or third parties on the job site.
  2. A software company may require their clients to sign an indemnification agreement, which holds the client liable for any legal claims that arise from using the software.
  3. A landlord may include a Hold Harmless provision in the lease, holding the tenant responsible for any property damage or injuries they cause to themselves or others while on the premises.

Legal Terms Similar to Hold Harmless

  1. Indemnification – a legal concept that transfers the risk of loss from one party to another in a contract.
  2. Waiver – a legal term where a party agrees to give up or relinquish a right or claim.
  3. Release – a legal term where a party gives up or forgives a claim or right to pursue legal action.