Training Online: Legal + Liability Protections and Considerations

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

I think by now we know that we don’t fancy bells and whistles, someone’s permission, or every client in the world, to decide to show up online, continue serving our clients, and host online training. 


We know that we do need:

  1. To believe in ourselves, 

  2. To have the desire to keep serving our clients, 

  3. A platform (I’m a huge Zoom fan), 

  4. A payment process (because we do NOT work for free here), 

  5. Marketing material - to share our offering with the world, and

  6. Liability Protection 

Really truly, that’s it! The rest is gravy, and we can chat about all of those extra (mics, music, client feedback, email service provider) some other time.


Maybe in this week’s newsletter?


I know you have items 1-5 in the bag, so let’s dive into #6, today’s topic at hand: Liability Protection for online training. 


What Is it?


Liability protection is usually granted through 1) your Liability Waiver (oftentimes called an Agreement to Participate or Assumption of Risk) and 2) your liability insurance. It protects you, the trainer and/or host training studio from liability (ie being sued and having to pay $$) in the event that a client injures themselves while training. 


What Does It Cover?


Liability Protection only goes as far as what is discussed in your Liability Waiver and/or you Insurance Policy. 


If you take one thing from today, make it that. 


If your insurance policy doesn’t cover you to train online, you’re probably not covered in the event of an accident or injury. If your Liability Waiver doesn’t cover you to train online, you’re probably not covered in the event of an accident or injury. If one mentions it and the other doesn't, you might be off the hook...but if neither does? You guess it - 100% on you in the event a client is injured. 

In addition to how terrible you would feel knowing that someone got injured on your watch. 


Side note: If you don’t have a Liability Waiver at all, and you’re training clients remotely outside of your employing studio environment (YES, even in a Zoom class, YES, even in IG Live/YouTube, YES even if you’ve been training them forever), you are exposing yourself to a large gaping hole of liability. Please get a waiver ASAP. It’s like car insurance - you don’t realize how badly you need it until you need it. 


Why Do You Need It?


Because the liability and legalities of training online is substantially different from when training in person. Are you able to make the same corrections? No. See the person from the same perspective? No. 


Clients are held to a different standard (which is good for you!) because they now have to take additional responsibility for themselves. 


But in order for your clients to be held to a higher standard, they must know they are. And the only way that is possible is through the written Liability Waiver. 


Who Needs It and Who Does It Cover?


Every trainer who is training on their own (ie, not under a studio as an instructor or employee trainer) needs to have liability insurance and coverage AND a Liability Waiver for all training, in person and online. 


The good news is: for large streaming workouts, like a Zoom class, YouTube, or even your own platform, you can 100% put waiver language in the text of the caption, as the first slide, or require participants to ‘check a box’ or sign up to join your workout. 


Where Do I Get It?


Online Liability Insurance can be an add on to your existing Professional Liability Insurance. If you don’t have PLI, I can send you a few (unaffiliated) links that I refer my clients to and I use myself. 

Liability Waivers - l wholeheartedly recommend a qualified and knowledgeable attorney (like ME) draft a Liability Waiver for you. We know all considerations to include when discussing indemnity, virtual training, medical releases, photo releases, IP protections, and more. 


I can only begin to tell you why I dislike forms you find on Google and decide will work for you. And that’s ok, because it’s entirely your decision to leave your business and your livelihood in the hands of a document that you decided was “good enough.”


That said, I understand that not everyone is at that state financially, mentally, business-wise. If you’re going to use a Waiver that wasn’t written for you read it over and make sure you understand what it says and it describes training situations that pertain to your business and clients. 


When Should I Get It?


ASAP! Like yesterday!


When clients are opening their new business, liability protection is the first thing I have them take care of. In fact, most insurance companies won’t even give trainers + studio owners coverage until they produce their Liability Waiver (see how important it is!?)


Don’t sweat if you’ve been on cruise control for a while now without one. Get yourself organized, get a Waiver that works for you and your business, and decide how you want clients to sign it (online, through your booking software or in-person). 


Keep rocking business as usual, knowing that you took the steps to protect yourself. 








PS - Make sure you’re on my newsletter list and subscribe to my weekly newsletters. This week I’ll be delivering the bullet points of a great Liability Waiver. Use this as a cross-reference to ensure what you’re working with is the best version possible, or maybe take the opportunity to treat yourself to an upgrade. You know I’d be thrilled to help you.

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