If you enjoy physical activity and keeping healthy, being a personal trainer can be the ideal career for you. You’ll get to spend your time sharing your love for working out with others and watch them become fit and strong.
While your main responsibility is training your clients, you also need to take care of your business. That includes taking care of important paperwork like legal forms.
There are a few trainer legal forms that you need, but we’ll focus on just one — your personal trainer waiver form.
What is a personal training waiver form?
In general, signing a waiver means you give up the option to take some action.
A personal training waiver form or release form means that your client gives up the option of suing you if they get injured during training activities.
It’s also called a personal training liability form or a client agreement form because the client agrees not to hold you liable. That is, they can’t hold you legally responsible for accidental injuries.
When your client signs a fitness waiver, it means they accept the risks of following your training program, including the small chance that they might get hurt while training.
When do you need a personal trainer liability form?
A personal trainer liability waiver form is extremely important for your training business. You should get every new client to sign this form before you start working with them.
The personal trainer waiver form vs. general liability insurance
You might wonder why you need a personal training waiver release form when you have liability insurance? That’s because liability insurance and a personal trainer waiver form serve different purposes.
Your release of liability form protects you if something happens because of your training. It shifts some of the legal responsibilities away from you because the client acknowledged consequences (aka informed consent).
General liability insurance is mainly for accidental damage or injury that is not part of your actual training sessions. It provides financial protection if you are held responsible for accidents or damage to property.
For example, say your client sprains his wrist doing planks. If they signed a personal training liability form, it shows that they understand that all exercise carries risks of injury and may deter them from taking legal action.
On the other hand, if you accidentally drop a dumbbell and scratch your client’s flooring, general liability insurance could help pay for repairs. Having business insurance ensures you don’t have to pay entirely out of pocket to defend your business or solve problems.
Here are some common personal training lawsuits caused by accidents or misunderstandings:
- Your client tears a rotator cuff lifting weights and sues you for not teaching her the correct way to lift weights.
- Your client doesn’t tell you that he has an old weakness in his wrist from a previous injury. Because you don’t know about this, you set him to do more push-ups than he can cope with, and he sprains his wrist, so he sues you for pushing him too far.
- You don’t know that your client has a history of blood pressure issues and gets dizzy. He loses his balance during a stretch and twists his ankle, trying to recover.
- You move your client into the right position for squats, but she thinks you touched her inappropriately and takes legal action for sexual harassment.
How to reduce your risks as a personal trainer
Although every business carries some risk, you want to avoid it as much as you can. It’s a lot easier to grow your business if you don’t have to worry about being sued by your clients. A personal trainer waiver form can help with that.
These steps can help reduce your legal risks:
- Make sure to explain clearly the risks of doing physical exercises.
- Have your clients sign a consent form that shows that they understand the risks of intense exercise.
- Take time to ask your clients about their medical history and their physical condition, so you know how hard to push them. Find out if they’ve received a physical examination from their doctor and are cleared for exercise.
- Do a full fitness assessment before you create an exercise program for a new client.
- Encourage your clients to tell you when something hurts. This way, you won’t cause a serious injury by telling them to carry on when they should stop.
- Give your clients time to ask questions and check that they feel comfortable with your answers.
- Always keep your insurance policy up to date.
- Have your certificate of insurance handy to show to clients and exercise studios.
How Next Insurance protects personal trainers
NEXT Insurance provides business insurance for thousands of fitness professionals across the United States. We offer insurance tailored to your personal training business that can be purchased online in less than 10 minutes.
Learn more about coverage for your business and get a free online quote today. Once you purchase a policy, you'll get a live certificate of insurance to share with your customers instantly.
If you have any questions, our team of licensed, U.S-based advisors are standing by to help.