Injury Lawsuits in the Gym
Accidents happen. Are you prepared for a lawsuit?
You need to prepare for potential lawsuits now.
Whether you're training gymnasts, cheerleaders, tumblers, snowboarders, or free runners, safety is goal number one, two, and three. Not only are you responsible for safety in your facility, you could be sued for accidents that happen outside of the gym.
Safety in the Gym
Facility: Keeping maintenance records for each piece of equipment in your gym, including training tools such as belts and springboards can protect you in the event of a lawsuit. Your coaches need to be aware of any special circumstance in the facility and train your athletes appropriately.
Coaches: Coaches need to be properly trained. Being "safety certified" may not be enough. Your coaches need to understand the mechanics of the skills they're teaching, training steps, and the psychology and physiology of their athletes.
Athletes can only do so much in a day. An athlete that is perfecting a skill so he can perform it without the safety device or foam pit must perform a minimum number before he can safely try it on his own. However, an athlete just learning to flip and twist will likely lose his air-sense after just a few attempts at a skill.
Athletes: Your athletes need know their limits and trust the coach to help them move to the next level.
Your athletes should know that they shouldn't try skills without the coach's knowledge and permission.
Safety Outside of the Gym
Even when your athletes are outside of your gym, you may have responsibility for their actions. Your athletes need to know their limits and be aware of the possible consequences of trying something on their own.
How to Protect Yourself
Waivers: Waivers cannot prevent all lawsuits, but they do provide evidence that your athletes and their parents are aware of the risks and have accepted them.
Records: Keep meticulous records. Record your maintenance of equipment, training of your coaches, and every injury that occurs in the gym, no matter how small.
Legal Advice: Retain an attorney who understands your business and can act quickly if the need should arise.
With over 25 years of experience working in the gymnastics community, attorney John Scanlan speaks your language. CircleLaw can help.
Contact Circle Law to set up an appointment: John Scanlan