Consider Other Ways to Reduce Liability Risks
There are other steps you can take to minimize your club’s liability risks. One way is creating a clear notification process among staff to identify and resolve any emerging or present dangers. For instance, wet floors should be addressed immediately, and you could post clear signage to convey the situation to members. Other potential hazards that courts describe as “open and obvious” risks—such as construction, slippery steps, parking lot hazards, etc.—should also be identified and clearly communicated to members.
In some cases, the injured party may have partially contributed to the injury. For instance, if they did not disclose to their personal trainer that they were recovering from surgery. In these cases, courts sometimes find that the injured party demonstrated contributory negligence. However, this example also demonstrates why most clubs ask new clients to fill out a brief medical history to ensure they have a doctor’s permission to be working out. It is also valuable to refer the AED and CPR standards for your state to ensure you are in compliance, and ready for any potential emergency situation involving cardiac arrest.
Injury liabilities are a costly risk that all health clubs should seek to minimize. This advice should not be seen as an alternative to legal advice. For even more information on minimizing liability risks, as well as specific information about writing waivers, see Injury Liability: An IHRSA Briefing Paper.