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Old 11-07-2006, 08:16 PM   #1
Ted Wu
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Hey guys,

Im wondering, if studemts sigm a waiver that covers all parts of injury etc. caused in the gym, does that mean they are basically signing over their right to win in the court of law in case injuries were to occur? If so, why do gym owners still have insurance to cover themselves for such situations. all in all i guess im just wondering how far a contract can protect you against legal lawsuits. All comments and suggestions are appreciated.


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Old 11-07-2006, 09:11 PM   #2
Bill Russell
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Good questions Ted.

You can get an unbelievable amount of great advice from the folks on this site, but I'd rather get this sort of advice straight from an attorney.

With that said, I'll throw in my 2 cents anyway!! If you are negligent and someone gets hurt in your gym, the waiver probably goes out the window. Negligence is generally subjective, so a judge will have to decide.

If a client, working out on his own, snatches a really heavy KB and drops it on his own head, your signed waiver probably holds up. Your pullup bar pulls out of the wall and he breaks his neck, your bad!

Get lots of insurance coverage, and know what it does and does not cover. I hope this helps.

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Old 11-07-2006, 11:03 PM   #3
Richard Meller
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I happen to be a lawyer and Bill has it pretty much right. In any event, a waiver won't stop someone from suing and having insurance can help with legal costs even if you are not liable for damages at the end of the day.
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Old 11-08-2006, 10:24 AM   #4
Ted Wu
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ahh ok, this clarifies a lot for me. Thank you!
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Old 11-08-2006, 02:28 PM   #5
Edward D. Friedman
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I agree with what Bill and Richard had to say. (I'm an attorney as well.)

A written waiver also serves as evidence of notice to the trainee of the danger of the activity.

Negligence, as Bill said, is subjective ( what is reasonable/unreasonable under the circumstances ? )

Following up on the "dropping a KB on your own head" example, as silly as it may sound, while most would consider it an obviously dangerous activity, a waiver expressly stating, "...may cause serious injury or DEATH..." strongly supports the argument that the trainee "assumed the risk" of the activity.

Because cases are fact sensitive, "reward the careful, penalize the careless," and "the weakest ink is better than the strongest memory" come into play here. I've seen cases of people hurt in gyms by dangers that I thought were obvious, but a newbie (especially,) can argue,
( especially absent a waiver,)that he/she didn't know the danger and relied upon the trainer's expertise/supervision.
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Old 11-08-2006, 05:33 PM   #6
James Falkner
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I've heard that a good lawyer can usually get around any signed paper. That's what insurance is for, I guess. I've even gone around written contracts myself (like speed limit signs, rental agreements, warranties, etc) and I am not a lawyer! So contracts can only go so far.
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Old 11-10-2006, 05:11 AM   #7
John Frazer
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I'm only a law student but what you're hearing is correct.

One factor in whether a waiver protects you is how "optional" the activity is. If you make people sign a waiver to drive your race cars, it'll probably stand. If you make them sign a waiver to shop in your grocery store ... probably not.

A lot of this depends on your particular state--for instance, a few states still allow no recovery at all if the injured person's negligence contributed to the injury. There's no substitute for talking to a lawyer in your jurisdiction.

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Old 11-10-2006, 11:23 AM   #8
Ted Wu
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Yea thats true. I guess its time to start looking for an insurance company and a lawyer to write up a liability form for my gym.

Thanks for your comments
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Old 11-11-2006, 03:24 AM   #9
Blair Robert Lowe
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In California you cannot waive your right to sue. Sign a waiver but it's for peace of mind basically and hope they don't know that. If an injury happens in gymnastics they basically keep the records and papers till they're past 18 and maybe then some. It all depends on the severity of the injury.
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Old 11-28-2006, 11:18 AM   #10
Arden Cogar Jr.
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I too am an attorney and all the above is sound advice. For the most part,the waiver is as good as the paper it's written on. As such, insure. It's a must.

It's one of the hard things about having a club, etc. I would love to do something like that with my home gym, but I can't stand the liability.

I don't think entering into a contract of sorts to participate with as stringent a protections as possible would survive. But I would echo was Edward has written.

All the best,
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