Hey – If you are a coach, trainer, yoga teacher or anyone holding in person retreats & workshops, YOU need a Liability waiver for your live events!

Today I’m having a stern talkin’ to with my coaches, trainers, yoga teachers, retreat and course holders…really, I’m talking to any business owner who holds live events from time to time or all the time. Listen up, because we’re talking liability for those unpredictable pesky little accidents that nobody can foresee. And, specifically, we are talking about waivers.. as in waiving bye-bye to the liability via a waiver of liability.

Ok, full disclosure, it does not work that way, exactly. You can’t just waive “IT” all away…but you can AND SHOULD have your clients sign a waiver of liability when they attend a live event with you.

Because unpredictable things can and do happen! People fall, people twist ankles, people get served food they are allergic to, people catch COVID 19 and then spread it around without even knowing it. Oh, don’t forget…this is a big one…people steal, theft happens and then what…who is liable? NOT YOU, right?!

What should your liability waiver contain?

State the risks as you know them, without limitation, of course.

First, the liability waiver should state some known risks, without limitation, of attending the event. Slipping, falling, theft, heat stroke, dehydration. What the risks are is totally dependent upon what you are doing, where you are hosting, how long the event lasts, and more. But you should lay out some of the risks, including things like slip and fall, theft, overheating in the sun, dehydration.

Make them acknowledge they know the risks and are attending anyway.

Second, the waiver should include what’s called “informed consent” meaning, it’s best to have the client acknowledge the risks by initialing by the sentence where you are stating the risks. You also should have some language that certain risks exist and cannot be removed entirely by any level of precaution.

The acknowledgement should state that the client is choosing to attend anyway! Of course they are coming anyway! They trust that YOU are making things as safe as possible…and, of course…you definitely ARE, right?

Let them know that they are releasing YOU should the aforementioned accidents or other mishaps occur.

Next comes the release and waiver. This is just legal language that states that the client is permitted to attend the event or class, in exchange for the release and waiver. Basically, they are saying they will not sue YOU, they are giving up that right if something bad happens.

The truth is that waivers of liability protect you up until a point…that is, until they just don’t apply anymore. For instance, you cannot just waive away atrocious behavior. If you are simply negligent you *might still be on the hook. If you are grossly negligent…well, you are probably on the hook. Certainly, intentional, or reckless behavior on your part is a real big problem that renders your little liability waiver kind of useless.

Listen, friends – you do not need to do this alone! Contact Wick Law today for help understanding best practices when holding live “hands on” events for your clients.

Wick Law, LLC is a small business legal practice, representing owners, investors, and entrepreneurs in all aspects of commercial, corporate, and business law, estate planning, contracts and negotiations, business litigation, and real estate. For more information: Contact 614-572-6366, visit www.mwicklaw.com, or email us at mwick@mwicklaw.com. Wick Law, LLC is located in Columbus, Ohio.

(Materials in this article have been prepared by Wick Law, LLC for general informational purposes only. This list is for educational purposes and is not to be considered exhaustive. More items could be added to this checklist based upon the type of transaction or industry standards. These materials do not, and are not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information provided is not privileged and does not create an attorney-client relationship with Wick Law, LLC or any of the firm’s lawyers. This checklist is not an offer to represent you. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based upon any information in this checklist. Wick Law, LLC maintains offices in Columbus, Ohio, and has lawyers licensed to practice in Ohio and in the United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio. The firm does not intend to practice law in any jurisdiction where the firm is not licensed.)

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