Waiver - Release Forms
The contents of this blog are not to be construed in any manner as legal advice nor is there any intent to establish an attorney-client relationship through use of this blog. Any legal situation is heavily dependent upon the particular facts presented and if you as a reader believe you are in need of advice please contact an attorney for a confidential consultation.
This publication is written and published to provide accurate and authoritative information relevant to the subject matter presented. It is published with the understanding that the author and publisher are not engaged in rendering legal, medical or other professional services by reason of the authorship or publication of this work. If legal, medical or other expert assistance is required, the services of such competent professional persons should be sought. Moreover, in the field of personal fitness training, the services of such competent professionals must be obtained.
Adapted from a Declaration of Principles of the American Bar Association and Committee of Publishers and Associations
In previous blogs, information was provided about the use of waivers or releases executed by clients prior to participation in a program of activity. Every personal trainer and every facility should use these forms or other similar forms developed for use in states where prospectively executed waivers are not recognized. These documents generally work and are excellent defense mechanisms to keep fitness professionals out of court or at least to assist in their defense if they are sued.
What is a release or waiver personal trainers may ask? The answer is simple. If properly written and administered, they can be a legally effective, client-signed document specifying that the client gives up and relinquishes his/her right to submit a claim or institute a lawsuit against a fitness professional if an injury should occur in a program, including those caused by the negligence of the professional.
Release documents used in fitness activities are valid in most states. An example of one such form follows. However, no form should ever be used or developed for any program without legal and risk management advice given to meet the requirements of the law in the professional’s state of operation.
In those states which don’t give legal effect to release documents, other somewhat similar forms like express assumption of risk statements should be developed and used instead so that some protection may be provided to fitness professionals. In some situations, a contract containing both release language and assumption of risk provisions might be the best option. An example of one such contract follows which is reprinted in the blog with permission since it is subject to copyright protections and may not be reproduced or used without permission. Moreover, no such document should ever be used without individual legal advice and counsel.