Dojo/dojang liability Insurance Question.
I'm just curious as to how may instructo4rs out there carry liability inbsurance. I see this come up periodically when people ask about operating costs for the dojo/dojang.
The reason I ask is this. I have been teaching since 1978 and have never had liability insurance. When I was going to start my first class, I talked to my sensei about this and he told me (incorrectly I fouind out later) that the release of liability form he had all of his students sign prior to taking their first class resolved this. Of course, we all know that this isn't true, but I have talked to two lawyers on this subject over the years, and this is what they said.
If you have them sigh the release of Liability form, and also talk to them and make sure htey understand what you are doing in class (fighting, kicking at each other, takedowns, etc) and make sure the liability form is EXPRESSED liability, not just inferred liability..then in order for someone to SUCCESSFULLY sue you in court, they would have to prove negligence on my part. Both of these lawyers have gone over my Liability form and made any necessary corrections of edits to it and tell me it should be fine.
When I get a minute, I'll post the Release of Liability Form that I use.
Also, I've talked to dozens of other sensei through my travels and at tournaments and I have not found one instructor, and they have never heard of anyone, ever getting sued in a martial arts class.
Maybe I'm stupid for taking the chance..maybe I have blind faith in my students...I don't know. But I thought this might lead to some good discussion.
Re: Dojo/dojang liability Insurance Question.
This is what I use for a Relaese of Liability Form.
*DISCLAIMER* I'm not advocating that you use this, or that in YOUR state it is valid and will protect you from lawsuits..so use at your own descretion and RISK!
(Name of School)
RELEASE OF LIABILITY FORM
The undersigned, as an enrolled student of (your name) and/or (your school name) and (system name here) training in the mental, physical and moral aspects of being a karate person, and in recognition of the fact taht such training involves strenous physical exercise and physical contact with the attendant possibility of physical and/or mental injury, do hereby release to absolve (your name here) and/or (your school name here) of any and all blame and/or liability as a result of such training, or in connection with any activity related or associated therewith. By my/our signatures below, I/We hereby consent to the possible injuries this activity may cause. Also, by my/our signatures below, I/We have been fully informed of the possible dangers of this activity. I/We further agree that I/we and my/our heirs, executors and/or administrators will never institute any suit or action at law or in equity against (your name here) and/or (your school name here) in connection with such training, nor institute, prosecute, or in any way aid in the institution or prosecution of any such claim, demand, cause of action for damages, costs, loss of service, expenses and/or compensation for or on account of any damage, loss or injury resulting from such activity or training.
Dated this ____ day of ____, 2004
Signature of Student______________
Note: If student is under 18 years of age, the following must be signed by the parent(s) and/or guardian(s) prior to class participation.
I/We, the undersigned parent(s) and/or guardian(s) of ____________ (childs name), do hereby consent to his/her participation and enrollment as a student of (your name here) and (school name here). By my/our signature(s) below, I certify and affirm that I have read the above Release of Liability Form, and agree to be bound by it.
Dated this ________ day of __________, 2004.
NOTE: You need to sit down with each student or parent of a minor age student and go over this form. What I tell them is yes, they can get hurt in class, but I make every effort to run as safe a class as possible, but accidents will happen. I also tell them to talk to other students or parents about my class and see what they have to say about it.
I have never had a parent or prospective student so much as question this, let alone refuse to sign it. If they did, then they will not be allowed to train.
I'd suggest you get oen of these forms signed yearly, and make sure you keep them FOREVER, as years from now, someone might come back and say they are having knee/back problems caused by your class.
Again, keep in mind that this is what I use. It has served me well and I have never had any problems with it. however, I make no guarantees as to how it will work for you..so use it at YOUR OWN RISK! :D
Last edited by tallpaul50; 12/27/2003 1:54pm at .
I had mine drawn up by my attorney who is the local muni judge, and he ran it by the district judge. I can send it to you if you would like and look at yours. Maybe they both have something that would be of benefit to the other. I also have never been sued or seen a suit in Texas or Arkansas where I taugh or teach, but I bet there are some out there.
I carry liability plus an umbrella just because juries can be so fickle.
'the release of liability form he had all of his students sign prior to taking their first class resolved this'
Contact these people, they will help you out: www.igomag.com
My instructor has been sued several times for even minor injuries. One time he was demonstrating an axe kick and the student stood up even though my instructor told him not to move. It was a light hit, but the guy insisted on a ambulance and to be checked out by a doctor, $2000 right there.
And you guys are right. A wavier doesn't absolve you from liability. If you are negligent in your duties as an instructor and order a student to do something that results in his or anothers injury, you can be sued sucessfully.
Unfortunatly in the US, anybody can sue anybody else for any reason at any time. If you don't like the texture or color of the toilet paper in the bathroom...SUE 'EM!!! Sad, but true.
The attorneys that worked on my liability form told me that yes, they can still sure you, but show this to the judge and the case should be tossed out without going to court. Unless of course, there is negligence on my part. then by all means...sue away!
Your instructor is the first I've heard of that has been sued Punisher, especially for minor injuries. Like I said in my origional post, I've been doing this quite a while and have yet (until today anyway) heard of a sensei being sued.
I've had in my class, teeth knocked out, people knocked out, broken noses, toes and fingers and a cracked rib or two and my own (probably spelled wrong) crucia ligament in my knee torn, and so far, nobody's ever even suggested I pay for medical bills, let alone sued me. Might be my sterling personality perhaps?
Just because people don't sue you, doesn't mean that can't or they wouldn't win. What is "neglience" to you may not be the same in the eyes of the law or the jury. Here are some hypotheicals. Are you negligent if:
You put some in the ring with someone much larger or more skilled than they are to toughen them up and they end up getting hurt?
You suggest a flexibility excercise that when done following your directions causes ligament damage?
You allow people to spar without supervision and something happens when you or one of your staff is not looking and someone gets hurt?
You suggest conditioning excerise like rolling a bottle the legs and it leads to nerve damage?
Since I don't handle civil tort cases i will not comment on the legal effectiveness of various releases, i simply don't want to guess wrong having not reviewed the case law. i am aware of one case that went to a jury trial in New Haven. Some large male athlete ytpe had broken his finger at the local TKD hut and had sued for damages (I don't know whether it was a negligence or battery claim). The case reached the jury and the plaintiff lost.
While it is important to determine exactly what consititutes negligence, we have to realize one thing. if you go to a dojo, or school, or dojang whatever, you're not going to learn to bake cookies. So quit bitchin and suck it up.
"if you go to a dojo, or school, or dojang whatever, you're not going to learn to bake cookies. So quit bitchin and suck it up."
I agree entirely, fight training means periodic injuries. However, the potential legal ramifications make many instructors wary of certain pratices or drills, even though they might be integral to the system.
That element alone is a major contributing factor to Bullshido. Instructors often feel they must protect their students in order to protect themselves from liability.
That is why i only take only private students. The ones that understand that if you want to play, you have to pay. If i bruise them, they dont try and sue me.
suing someone for gross negligence or deliberate injury is one thing. but for run of the mill training injuries? Those people should never be there in the first place.
Good thread, tallpaul.
so, are you an instructor? in the event you are not, IF you were, would you carry liability insurance? what's the verdict, counsel?