Liability Waivers for Children in Your Coaching Programs
As a parent with small children, it’s always a little strange when you sign them up for some activity like gymnastics, or karate, or even a trampoline park. They give you a document to sign that says, give us your most precious little babies, but first we will explain to you all of the ways in which we will either kill them or else badly damage them. The things is, as parents, we still do it.
Although it may seem like a no-brainer that liability waivers are used for children’s activities such as tumbling, ninja warrior camp and horseback riding, have you considered how they are used in less physical activities, such as your coaching practice? Some coaches either focus on minors under the age of 18 or are occasionally asked to coach a child. How does this affect your liability waiver?
As I mentioned in my previous post on liability waivers, liability waivers are considered contracts between you and the person waiving liability under state law. However, minors (including 16 and 17-year-olds) cannot sign contracts. It will not be considered an enforceable contract. Often, with any contract or liability waiver, you’ll see a space for a parent to sign on behalf of the child. But, most state courts have ruled that a parent cannot waive the pre-injury liability on behalf of their child.
For example, in my own state, the Utah Supreme Court recently reaffirmed this in a case against a ski resort, holding that it would violate public policy to allow a parent to release a minor’s prospective claim for negligence. There are a handful of states that will allow a parent to waive liability, but the majority seem to agree with Utah.
Does this mean you should just throw the waivers out the door when it comes to children? Or just decide to change your niche or have a blanket policy to not coach minors? Well, no. The waiver and assumption of risk form (read by and signed by the parent) may still serve a purpose of letting both the parent and the child know you are not providing medical or psychiatric advice, complying with insurance policies, or playing some other role in a possible lawsuit such as setting the standard of care or a comparative negligence analysis. Use one, but use it understanding the limitations and consider it a layer in protection along with an insurance policy (which covers children) and forming an LLC.
Does the idea of a liability waiver or thought of the possibility of being sued make you think twice about going forward with your coaching practice? Listen, lawsuits sometimes happen. But the difference between successful coaches and the ones that only dream about it is that the successful ones manage their mind. If you want to talk about managing your mind through this process, click on the button below for a free 30-minute empowerment coaching call. I won’t give you legal advice, but I give you the tools to make empowering decisions.Schedule Appointment
**The information in this post is for general information purposes only. It is not intended or meant to be legal, financial or other professional advice. Neither Megan Green nor Megan Green LLC is intending to create and attorney-client relationship with you. You are encouraged to seek out the advice of legal counsel or other professional advice before acting or refraining from acting based on the content contained on the Site. Megan Green LLC assumes no responsibility for errors or omission in the contents on the Site.