Every so often we receive a call by a gym owner asking us if they should allow a potential client to refuse to sign the liability waiver. Gyms need members in order to make money and survive. If gyms are too stringent on sign up requirements, and make it too difficult, people are less likely to join. So, if a potential client doesn’t want to sign the waiver, but is willing to sign the membership contract for monthly recurring payments of $200/mn, is it really that big of a deal? Besides, when was the last time you really needed a waiver?
No, Never, No Way, Not Going To Happen
This is a TERRIBLE idea. Our job is to help gym owners avoid legal exposure. This is a massive area of legal exposure. It is correct most members never challenge a gym’s waiver. However, it does happen, and it could happen to you. If you let a member workout in your gym without a waiver, you are exposing your entire business. And for what, several hundred dollars each month in membership dues from that member?
What is the Cost?
If you still aren’t convinced, do a cost benefit analysis. An average personal injury lawsuit will cost you thousands in attorney fees. Some defense firms charge north of a $15k retainer just to get an attorney to look at your case. Then, if you lose, you are looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars, in damages owed to the injured party. Additionally, don’t expect your insurance company to cover it. Without a waiver, your insurance company likely has the right to deny you coverage. That means you are left to cover all of this cost on your own. Most micro gyms can’t afford to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars and stay open. Worst yet, if you didn’t set up your LLC properly, the injured member could sue you individually.
So, how many months does that potential member who refuses to sign your waiver need to be a member to be worth your business? Bottom line, never let some one use your gym without signing a waiver. If you do, be ready for some big problems because that’s the the only thing he/she will have a issue with.