Do I need insurance if I have my online personal training client sign a release of liability and informed consent prior to working with me?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Do I need insurance if I have my online personal training client sign a release of liability and informed consent prior to working with me?

I am starting an online personal training business and am wondering if
insurance is necessary to protect me if I still have the client sign
the correct documents. Also, which documents specifically I should
have my client sign.

Asked on February 5, 2017 under Business Law, Hawaii


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you definitely need insurance. A release, etc. can protect from the normal injuries incident upon or coming from proper training, and so is certainly helpful, but it does not protect you if you do anything wrong. So it will protect you if someone is doing the right exercises for their level of fitness and you instructed them how to do it correctly, but they still pulled, tore, etc. something. But it does not protect you from your own mistakes or errors. So, say that you have a client do a stretch or exercise that is too advanced for them and should not be done at their level of conditioning, or that you erred in your instructions on how to do the exercises: because you were negligent, or careless, in the training, you could still be sued, despite the release. Releases protect from the inevitable injuries that people get from sports or athletic activities even even when done right, but does not protect from leading people to do them wrong or to do the wrong exercises.
So yes: have clients sign releases. And get insurance--speak to a reputable insurance broker about what you need. And also form an LLC or limited liability company and conduct the business through it: that will further help protect your personal assets (e.g. money in the bank; home; car) from business (online training) related suits or other debts.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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