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Thread: The legal responsibilities of clubs?

  1. #1

    Default The legal responsibilities of clubs?

    Are clubs legally obliged to insist that you take out insurance when you train with them, or can it be optional at your own risk?

    They all seem to insist that you sign a disclaimer saying that you won't sue them if you get injured, so what's the point of insurance?

  2. #2

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    As far as I understand (I used to run a trad JJ club), signing a disclaimer is not worth the paper...if the instructor showed negligence that led to your serious injury, you have every right to pursue a legal option.
    Proving the negligence part I presume is the tough part since no jury/judge will find in your favour when you have volunteered to engage in a pursuit that has high levels of risk (to an outsider anyway, we all know BJJ is safe )

    One of the things I was always told by my senior trad JJ instructors was that membership to their governing body gave us instructor indemnity. Thus, we were protected by a larger body in case of a student wishing to sue us.

    BJJ does not have this structure.
    But, I beleive the GAA (Grappling Arts Association) is the nearest thing to a dedicated insurance scheme (for both student and instructor) that will cater for our needs. I am going to join them when my own trad JJ insurance runs out as it is moderately cheap and you never know what might happen.

    Not quite answering your question, sorry, but I thought these points might be of interest.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Rob T's Avatar
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    I am pretty sure a club can insist you take out insurance yeah. I doubt they can legally force you to do it through them, but you'd probably have to get insured by the same plan regardless.

    The disclaimer isn't a free-for-all, it's just evidence the club have on their side to say "Look, this guy knew their were risks", just in case it's needed. If the disclaimer specifically says you can't sue them then it might not even be legal though, I dunno??
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  4. #4

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    Would you guys train at a place where you hadn't been asked to take out any insurance, yet did have to sign a disclaimer stating that you understand the risks and you will not sue?

    Would you train under these circumstances even if the training area had no wall matts?

  5. #5
    Its not his cup you can feel.... Mike Bishop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob T View Post
    I am pretty sure a club can insist you take out insurance yeah. I doubt they can legally force you to do it through them, but you'd probably have to get insured by the same plan regardless.

    The disclaimer isn't a free-for-all, it's just evidence the club have on their side to say "Look, this guy knew their were risks", just in case it's needed. If the disclaimer specifically says you can't sue them then it might not even be legal though, I dunno??
    I think those disclaimers are generally used to demonstrate that the person was aware of the risks but they're also used to take advantage of people who don't have access to lawyers. As said previously, you can't exclude liability for death/PI arising from negligence. You would just have to show that a duty of care exists (which it clearly does) and that the duty of care has been breached resulting in the injury. There's more to it but all clubs should carry insurance. Even if an individual has insurance, the injured person's rights are subrogated to the insurer who would likely bring a claim against the club/the clubs insurers to recover the money paid to their party.

  6. #6
    Its not his cup you can feel.... Mike Bishop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iconoclast View Post
    Would you guys train at a place where you hadn't been asked to take out any insurance, yet did have to sign a disclaimer stating that you understand the risks and you will not sue?

    Would you train under these circumstances even if the training area had no wall matts?
    it wouldn't be valid - as said you can't exclude liability for death/PI arising from negligence so any agreement not to sue isn't valid. If a place has no wall mats then that's likely negligent and you could recover for your injuries.

    It's really important to have your own insurance and/or check theirs. If you do get injured and don't have your own insurance
    then you might not get much back suing individuals who run a club if they don't have their own insurance. Otherwise, you're relying on their ability to pay a judgement/settlement from their own funds which might not be very much.

  7. #7

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    I'm fairly sure that the place I'm thinking of doesn't have any insurance that would cover the people training there.

  8. #8

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    My take (for what its worth)

    I do not need to be insured. I can charge people and train them without any cover at all. However, if you are teaching out of a sports centre or something similar, they may insist you have insurance before letting you rent a the hall

    I am registered and insured through Cobra Martial Arts. I do this because I want to be professional, not because of a legal requirement. I have to be CRB checked, first aid trained, possess the right qualifications etc. This gives my students some peace of mind that I'm not just some cowboy teaching out of a garage. Being part of a professional body means that my students are licensed, which also includes insurance

    There is no legal requirement for them to get insured but there is a requirement from Cobra that my students are licensed

    It should be pointed out that in most cases, club insurance that you personally take out DOES NOT insure you for personal injury, but rather for legal fees etc should someone try to claim against you, even as a student. However, if you do something wreckless or stupid, like powerbomb someone, your insurance won't cover you

    I hope that clears it up a bit
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  9. #9

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    Cheers guys, I would be interested to know how many people who have paid their 20/30/40 insurance fees through their club have actually made a successful claim through it.

    If I choose to train in a facility that doesn't have wall matts, and I am unfortunate enough to roll back and smash my head open. Could the club owner be viewed as negligent, or is my fault as I could see there were no wall matts and yet I still decided to train there?

    Sorry for my wall matt obsession, but I've had a few near misses and I've recently seen an accident that luckily wasn't as bad as it could have been.

  10. #10
    Its not his cup you can feel.... Mike Bishop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iconoclast View Post
    Cheers guys, I would be interested to know how many people who have paid their 20/30/40 insurance fees through their club have actually made a successful claim through it.

    If I choose to train in a facility that doesn't have wall matts, and I am unfortunate enough to roll back and smash my head open. Could the club owner be viewed as negligent, or is my fault as I could see there were no wall matts and yet I still decided to train there?

    Sorry for my wall matt obsession, but I've had a few near misses and I've recently seen an accident that luckily wasn't as bad as it could have been.
    I'm a lawyer but not a personal injury lawyer. However, I don't think any court would have too much trouble finding a lack of walls mats as negligent. Also, were you injured then it'd be a stretch to find something like informed consent to training with those risks like you do with informed consent in medical negligence cases. Damages can be reduced to the extent you have contributed to the negligence - think a cyclist riding at night without lights who is struck by a car - but they wouldn't be reduced completely.

    In essence they have a duty of care to you and if they're not providing a safe training environment then they're in breach of that duty of care.

    I think Leigh's point is also likely right in that while insurance might well cover you for general negligence (like professional indemnity insurance for lawyers) it won't cover intentional/reckless/wilful acts etc it would go slightly against the purpose of insurance if you could get cover which allowed you to then go and spike your students on their heads

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