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Does Your Health and Fitness Business Have a Waiver?

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Most health and fitness businesses know about liability waivers. The weights, treadmills, and other equipment almost guarantee someone will be injured. Whether it is due to poor stretching, misuse of the machine, or simply tripping, the waiver saves you time and money. Most Seattle business attorneys, however, will tell you that the businesses are not properly writing their waivers. In the state of Washington, this means it is likely not to be held up in court. Instead of playing the game of risk, ensure your liability waiver follows these guidelines.

Language of Your Liability Waiver

The language of your waiver is one of the most important aspects of business planning. If there is one phrase missing or used incorrectly, it could be null and void. You should, for example, make sure it clearly states ‘liability waiver’ at the top of the form. Another language to watch for is:

  • Use the Assumption of Risk, Indemnity, Indemnification, or Release of Liability
  • Avoid Registration, Sign Up Sheet, or Entry Blank and Dual Purpose Forms
  • Italicize, Bold, or Underline Most Important Language for Clarity
  • Use Language Consistent with 10th Grade Level for Average Person (No Jargon)
  • Written Claim Including Knowledge of Risks, Understanding, Appreciation, and Assumption
  • Use ‘In Consideration Of’ in Negligence Section
  • State Release from Family, Friends, and Others
  • List of Employees Covered from Liability

Formation of Your Liability Waiver

A health and fitness business is going to utilize waivers that include an Assumption of Risk as well as Waiver of Negligence. The Assumption of Risk is the portion of the form that states your client acknowledges risks such as a pulled muscle from lifting too many weights. The Waiver of Negligence then ensures the client will not hold you responsible for these risks if something is to occur. Each portion of your liability waiver needs to be formatted in a clear manner so there is no chance for misreading. A business attorney in Seattle or Portland would normally write it with a format containing:

  • Subheadings
  • Lines for Signature After Each Claim
  • Section for Duration of Liability
  • Inclusion of Lawyer Fees, Court, and Other Costs
  • Clause of Severability That Voids Agreement

Needs for Health and Fitness Businesses

As a health and fitness business, there are extra needs your Seattle business lawyer will write into your waiver. This ensures your clients are stating they are healthy enough to perform activity since, likely, you are not their doctor. It releases you from any problems that could arise if your client, for example, has asthma and an attack occurs. Other inclusions in your liability waiver should include:

  • Descriptions of Fitness Levels and Vigorous Activity
  • Inherent Risks and Consequences
  • Specified Venue
  • Affirmations of Health Status
  • List of Safety Rules and Regulations
  • Authorization for Emergency Care

With so many intricacies to place in your liability waiver, it is important that you have a contract review attorney look over it. You may find that you are missing many key elements. Any of these can put your business at risk if a client were to take you to court, which is an expensive and consuming process. Rather than put yourself at risk for this, have a professional write your liability waiver so you know it will stand.

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