Releases are Generally Effective for Fitness Professionals and Facilities

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

Releases are Generally Effective for Fitness Professionals and Facilities

Releases or waivers of liability as they are sometimes called, are executed by fitness professional clients in advance of participation in fitness activities – prospectively. These documents waive or release client claims of liability against fitness professionals and the facilities in which services are provided. Releases are generally and almost universally valid in most states. While some states such as Virginia have found these waivers of liability to be against the public policy of that state, most other states give legal effect to them. As a consequence, all fitness professionals and facilities should consider using these contractual forms of liability waiver when a client first commences activity or joins a facility and perhaps have those documents re-executed at specific later dates.

In some states where releases are not given legal effect, express assumption of risk documents should be considered for use instead. In either case, these documents should be written by a lawyer familiar with the subject matter and the law where services are to be provided by fitness professionals.

In some states, release-waiver language must include the word “negligence” if the document is to release the fitness professional/facility from that kind of an act or omission. However, such documents cannot be used effectively to release intentional acts or from willful, wanton or gross negligence or from criminal type activity.

Once a professional is able to have the documents developed, they should seek and obtain some guidance from their lawyer on the process to be used to have the documents executed. This process is sometimes referred to as the “administration” of the release/waiver procedure.

After a professional receives advice on the administration process, similar advice on the execution and retention of these documents should also be obtained. Generally, these documents will only be valid and effective in those jurisdictions which recognize them and only if the signer is a competent adult (of the age of majority) and able to validly sign contracts. Once signed, the documents should be kept in a place of safekeeping for as long as possible so that they might be available for use if the need should ever arise to use them in the defense of a claim or lawsuit.

#releases #negligence

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