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So you're looking to run your own bootcamp and you're wondering if you need to ask your customers to sign a waiver? Chances are, you've signed many waivers before, for things like sports, camps, travelling and various other recreational activities. Bootcamps are no exception, and the reality is that injuries and accidents can happen.
A bootcamp waiver offers a peace of mind and protection for the business, and transparency to the participants by informing them of the risks to the activity. Let's take a closer look.
What's in this guide?
- What is a bootcamp waiver?
- When should I use a bootcamp waiver?
- Bootcamp waiver vs disclaimers
- What does a bootcamp waiver include and not include?
- How effective is a bootcamp waiver?
- Do I need a lawyer for a bootcamp waiver?
- Get access to customisable bootcamp waiver templates online
- How do I write a bootcamp waiver?
- Where to find bootcamp waiver templates online
What is a bootcamp waiver?
A bootcamp waiver is a legal document – basically an agreement between the bootcamp business and its participants. It protects the business by:
- Informing the participants of the risks involved in certain activities
- Asking the participants to forfeit their ability to sue in the event of injury, damage, loss or death.
Signing a waiver is a standard practice across recreational activities, including bootcamp, where there are potential risks of injuries involved.
Download this template at Lawpath
When should I use a bootcamp waiver?
You should use a bootcamp waiver if you want to protect your business by reducing the risks of liability.
By having a waiver for your business, you are setting the expectation that:
- Participants need to take personal responsibility for choosing to participate in the bootcamp program
- As the business operator, you are taking precautions to risks and running your bootcamp safely.
Having a waiver doesn't exempt you from all responsibility, as it won't protect you against misconduct or negligence. Examples of negligence include:
- Hiring staff that are qualified
- Not having first aid staff and equipment on hand
- Not removing hazards or fixing broken equipment
- Demanding a participant to perform an action that is beyond their current capability
- Demanding a participant to perform an action despite knowledge of a pre-existing condition.
Bootcamp waiver vs disclaimers
A disclaimer is a statement in which you say you are not liable for something. It is commonly used by businesses to reduce or eliminate legal risk.
You've probably come across thousands of disclaimers, often featured in advertising, on websites, and integrated into the Terms & Conditions.
Disclaimers and waivers are both set up to protect businesses by reducing liability. However, disclaimers on its own are simply read by consumers, while waivers are signed.
Some waivers may include disclaimers, for example, a bootcamp business may have a disclaimer that participants must consult their physician before starting any exercise program.
What does a bootcamp waiver include and not include?
A bootcamp waiver should include standard clauses such as an acknowledgement of the risks, a statement releasing the business from liability and a place for the participant to accept the terms by signing.
The following points are typically included in this type of agreement:
- Acknowledgement of risk. In the case of bootcamps, there may be activities that test participants' physical and mental limits and carry risks of injury, loss, damage or death. This needs to be addressed.
- Release from liability. Having outlined the risks specific to the activity, this statement clearly waives the participant's right to sue the business.
- Acknowledgment of physical condition. Essentially, noting that participants have consulted with their physician before commencing this program, or have no health-related problems that will exclude them from attending the program.
- Gross negligence. This gives the customer ability to sue in the event of death or injury is due to gross negligence on the business's behalf. For example, Consumer Affairs Victoria have laid out the exact wording recreational businesses may need to include in their waivers.
- Acceptance of terms. A signature of the participant is needed to acknowledge that they have read, understood and agreed to the document.
How effective is a bootcamp waiver?
Waivers are legally binding documents and therefore enforceable by law. As long as your bootcamp waiver is clearly and properly worded and signed, then your business should be protected from liability and potential lawsuits.
There are some exceptions to the rule, such as:
- Negligence or misconduct
- Poorly written waiver
- Unequal bargaining power between the two parties, such as in the case of a personal trainer and a trainee
- Failure to list all inherent risks.
Do I need a lawyer for a bootcamp waiver?
That's up to you to decide. However, it's generally recommended that you do engage a lawyer to review this type of waiver. While you can use a general waiver, a lawyer will be able to help you cover off the liability risks unique to your business.
Get access to customisable bootcamp waiver templates online
Does your company belong in this list?
How do I write a bootcamp waiver?
You can combine your fitness waiver with your customer registration/enrolment form.
The first section collects your customer's personal information, such as name, email, address, date of birth, phone numbers and emergency contact details.
The second section is around the customer's health conditions. The questions that you ask will help you understand any pre-existing medical conditions, injuries and limitations that your customer may have.
The waiver and lease of liability is generally the last section and it is important to present the information clearly. There are many different ways to write your fitness waiver, but be sure to include the information we have shared above and consult with your lawyer.
Where to find bootcamp waiver templates online
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