Legal Issues..

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Legal Issues..

Postby MaartenSFS on Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:24 am

After I move to the States I intend to start a Chinese swordsmanship group. I will have the safety equipment, training swords etc. It is still full-contact fighting, though, and accidents happen, mostly to the hands. Someone could also trip or what have you. Since I will be making a profit from it, I think that I need to consider covering my arse. I was thinking of letting students sign a waiver absolving me of all responsibility, should anything go wrong.

I was hoping that any of you with experience in this area could chime in and possibly share with me exactly what you have them sign, if anything. Thanks in advance! ;D
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Re: Legal Issues..

Postby zrm on Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:58 am

This is a template I've seen used in the past. Note that even if a student does sign a waiver it may not protect you as well as you think in case of a lawsuit. It may help make your case that the student knew of the dangers when joining the class so get them to sign something like this anyway.

If you are running a proper school I would highly, highly recommend getting insurance. There are providers out there that specialize in insurance for martial art schools. Just type "martial arts sport insurance" into google. In Australia I've found that a lot of halls and training centers will ask to see a copy of your insurance certificate before letting you run a class there.

Standard disclaimer - I am not a lawyer so don't take any of this as legal advice. Laws may also be different depending on your geographical location.

Code: Select all
<MARTIAL ART SCHOOL NAME>
PARTICIPANT RELEASE OF LIABILITY
ASSUMPTION OF RISK AGREEMENT
***READ BEFORE SIGNING***


Organization Name:   <Martial Art School Name>
               <School Location>

Instructor Name:      <Head Instructor’s Name>


Participant Name:                                                         
            Print Name


In consideration of being allowed to participate in any way in the program, related events and activities, and use of equipment, I the undersigned, acknowledge, appreciate, and agree that:

1. The risk of injury from the activities involved in this program is significant, including the potential for permanent paralysis and death.

2. I KNOWINGLY AND FREELY ASSUME ALL SUCH RISKS, both known and unknown, EVEN IF ARISING FROM THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE RELEASEES or others, and assume full responsibility for my participation.

3. I willingly agree to comply with terms and conditions for participation. If I observe any unusual significant hazard during my presence or participation, I will remove myself from participation and bring such to the attention of the nearest official immediately.

4. I, for myself and on behalf of my heirs, assigns, personal representatives and next of kin, HEREBY RELEASE, INDEMNIFY, AND HOLD HARMLESS <Head Instructor’s Name> and the <Martial Art School Name>, including their instructors, officers, officials, agents and/or employees, other participants, sponsors, advertisers, and, if applicable, owners and lessors of premises used to conduct the event (RELEASEES), from any and all claims, demands, losses, and liability arising out of or related to any INJURY, DISABILITY OR DEATH I may suffer, or loss or damage to person or property, WHETHER ARISING FROM THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE RELEASEES OR OTHERWISE, to the fullest extent permitted by law.

Health Statement
I will notify <Head Instructor’s Name> and the <Martial Art School Name> ownership or employees if I suffer from any medical or health condition that may cause injury to myself, others, or may require emergency care during my participation.

Media Statement 
By signing below, I hereby grant and convey to <Head Instructor’s Name> and the <Martial Art School Name> all right, title and interest in and to record my name, image, voice, or statements including any and all photographic images and video or audio recordings made by <Head Instructor’s Name> and the <Martial Art School Name>.

I HAVE READ THIS RELEASE OF LIABILITY AND ASSUMPTION OF RISK AGREEMENT, FULLY UNDERSTAND ITS TERMS, UNDERSTAND THAT I HAVE GIVEN UP SUBSTANTIAL RIGHTS BY SIGNING IT, AND SIGN IT FREELY AND VOLUNTARILY WITHOUT ANY INDUCEMENT.



X                                                               
Participant’s Signature                            Age             Date


FOR PARENTS/GUARDIANS OF PARTICIPANT OF MINOR AGE (UNDER AGE 18 AT TIME OF REGISTRATION)
This is to certify that I, as parent/guardian with legal responsibility for this participant, do consent and agree to his/her release as provided above of all the Releasees, and, for myself, my heirs, assigns, and next of kin, I release and agree to indemnify and hold harmless the Releasees from any and all liability incidents to my minor child’s involvement or participation in these programs as provided above, EVEN IF ARISING FROM THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE RELEASEES, to the fullest extent permitted by law.


X                                                                  
Parent/Guardian Signature                   Date             Emergency Phone Number(s)
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Re: Legal Issues..

Postby northern_mantis on Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:36 am

Just get specialist sports insurance for the elements of training you intend to incorporate. I have cover for empty hand and wooden weapons which is less than 60 pounds a year (roughly the same in dollars at current exchange rate). No doubt what your suggesting would be a bit more. Make sure you have some kind of instructor certificate from your teacher in china. IME the insurance companies don't care about where it comes from but want to see a bit of paper.

The document shown above is complex and you would need a solicitor for such a thing. Martial arts teaching doesn't bring in much so employing a legal professional doesn't fit the business model. I have a short 'you train at your own risk' disclaimer at the bottom of my email and emergency first aid training. IMO that covers your due diligence for setting up that kind of business.

p.s I can print you an instructor certificate for my top secret ninja lineage if that helps, just send cash, lots of it ;D
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Re: Legal Issues..

Postby greytowhite on Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:35 am

Don't "just get insurance" also get an LLC or other legal instrument to cover your ass. LLCs are usually rather inexpensive - just stay on the ball for your taxes.

http://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-1 ... --,00.html
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Re: Legal Issues..

Postby Bhassler on Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:13 am

Waivers really just serve to deter people who are prone to sue frivolously. If you are truly negligent, or if someone can make a case that you were negligent, then a waiver will not protect you. Probably the most important aspect of a waiver is that you have documentation saying they knew it was a dangerous activity when they signed up.
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Re: Legal Issues..

Postby Steve Rowe on Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:35 am

You can't sign your rights away. If an instructor is negligent and a student gets hurt, the instructor can be sued. A 'waiver' is meaningless and can actually work against you. Better to document and follow safe practice with good insurance cover.
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Re: Legal Issues..

Postby Orpheus on Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:33 am

To minimize risk, I would recommend the following.

1) Get a waiver. Work with a lawyer to tailor the waiver to the activities and risks involved (suck up the cost). As noted above, it is a deterrent to frivolous claims, but it also limits the scope of your potential negligence since the student is "informed". If you can't afford the legal services, try to find a boilerplate waiver used in your state. If you're negligent, the waiver will do you zero.
2) Form an LLC to operate your martial arts school/club. This will help insulate you from judgments in the event that you are sued and are found liable.
3) Get sports insurance that covers the activities involved. One of my original teachers was teaching San Da and only had insurance for Kung Fu (no sparring). Former student submitted a claim due to an injury and the teacher's policy would not cover the claim because he misrepresented the clubs activities.

This is America, so you can do all of the above and get sued. There is a reason lots of MA schools don't teach sparring.

I also will screen out a student if I think they will be a headache or a risk. Teaching is a second cash stream, so I can afford to be more judicious.
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Re: Legal Issues..

Postby Trick on Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:09 pm

Orpheus wrote:There is a reason lots of MA schools don't teach sparring.
.

Reading the answers in the tread, that thought hit me.....Seem too troublesome to operate a MA school in the US, almost to the point the teacher would be afraid of the students. Alway look over one's shoulder, a student maybe sneaks up to hit you in the head with a leagal issue.
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Re: Legal Issues..

Postby windwalker on Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:55 pm

found this on line maybe it can help as a templet
http://www.legacyboxing.org/waiver/

3. How much accident cover is needed in Martial Arts School Insurance?
Ideally, you will want to have $100,000 benefits available for accident coverage, which can pay the medical bills of a student that has been injured. In addition, this coverage will also cover staff members and you, the owner.

http://www.startamartialartsschool.com/ ... insurance/

If possible I would suggest trying to go in with another gym as part of their staff just to see how things work and get a feel
for the business part of it. Even at this one may need some kind of teaching lic or cert just to be able to teach there.

As some have mentioned any documentation from your teacher goes a long way in establishing your credentials to teach.
Having trained in China,speaking the lang are all big pluses giving you some cred.

Nice web site BTW good program out line.
https://maartensfs.wixsite.com/shanzhaiquan/curriculum

Another option might be seminars which you could even start from there in the area your going to relocate here.

I had a friend who was offered to teach as some gyms back east after given impromptu demos of his work
this was with taiji / pushing hands was his specialty.

you have drive and spirit
Best of luck
Last edited by windwalker on Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Legal Issues..

Postby Bhassler on Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:15 pm

When I was teaching Pilates, I was required to carry a policy of at least $1,000,000 per instance/aggregate. Seems like $100k is a little low, but then again, depending on what activities you engage in and what kind of policy you get, I suppose an MA school could have higher premiums so maybe $100k is all anyone can afford...
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Re: Legal Issues..

Postby yeniseri on Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:52 am

A waiver is fine providing all applicable language is present that will cover all manner of risk associated with the activity.
The other half of the story is to be insured/covered. Although I did not get coverage, there may be still operating yoga insurance groups that cover tai chi and associated activities.
Just by talking with these groups, it is good information on assessing your needs and level of premiums you are willing to pay/afford for the activity you engage in.

Here are some sources:
https://alternativebalance.net/coverage_cost

NAMASTA Liability insurance
https://www.namasta.com/yoga-pilates-ta ... insurance/

If you do not explicitely have tai chi in your name of business it appears that the 'swordsmanship" text part would put you in a quasi potential higher premium category as the risk of injury become greater (imagined or otherwise despite safety precautions and waiver) so traditional liability coverage MAY even double.
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Re: Legal Issues..

Postby Orpheus on Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:54 am

Trick wrote:
Orpheus wrote:There is a reason lots of MA schools don't teach sparring.
.

Reading the answers in the tread, that thought hit me.....Seem too troublesome to operate a MA school in the US, almost to the point the teacher would be afraid of the students. Alway look over one's shoulder, a student maybe sneaks up to hit you in the head with a leagal issue.


My post wasn't intended to be overly alarmist. I think the current nature of teaching MA is to make sure that one takes precautions against risks. Probability of an accident that could lead to a claim/litigation is pretty low, but it is prudent to take precautions. I assume going into any business, not just MA, you would want to perform your due diligence. That includes making sure you have good practices and protections in place in the rare event that you are sued.
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Re: Legal Issues..

Postby C.J.W. on Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:36 am

I suppose a good way to start is to get in touch with people who run boxing/MMA gyms -- places where members tend to get injured in training -- and see how they do things.
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Re: Legal Issues..

Postby Pandrews1982 on Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:46 am

I run full contact swordfighting in the UK. Seminars and regular classes. I teach and practice live blade test cutting with my students and have in the past also done this with public at demonstrations. I have full public liability insurance and first aid training. I don't use a waiver.

Everyone, I mean everyone gets a thorough safety talk when they begin, and everyone gets one at the beginning of EVERY use of live blades. If anyone is reckless they are asked to stop and get another safety briefing and a bit of a reprimand - in the UK we call that a "bollocking". This usually serves to stop stupid shit happening.

Right from the start everyone is told that "you will get hurt". If you have the right gear and play correctly it will be bruises only, if you're an idiot it could be worse.

Run your classes right and you don't have to worry. Give a heavy wooden training sword to a beginner and have them spar is asking for trouble. Giving them protection and saying hey now you're fine is asking for sloppy technique. Work slowly with technique, drill in discipline, no protection to start with.

My main group have been training almost 2 years and whilst we do slow controlled sparring I'm only just getting them to wear gloves and really attack hard to the hands and arms now because until now they were not ready in terms of technique and discipline. Once they get into hitting the hands hard it will not be long before we need helmets and other protection.

I find small groups better to control and to manage. You won't make much money from this don't expect a legion of followers. If you are in the US now I'd suggest to get my sword teacher Scott Rodell over for a seminar he'd be able to give you loads of advice on how to run things especially in the USA and would be a great guy to have supporting your school. He's not cheap but his material is worth it.
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Re: Legal Issues..

Postby marvin8 on Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:57 am

Last edited by marvin8 on Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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