exculpatory clause

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An exculpatory clause is part of a contract that prevents one party from holding the other party liable for damages related to the contract. Exculpatory clauses are used quite often in purchases such as the ones included with an amusement park or plane ticket. Courts often look down on exculpatory clauses because they allow a party to skirt responsibility, and courts can strike down exculpatory clauses when they are hidden in a contract or have too broad of coverage that violates public policy. 

[Last updated in July of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]