Can my new business exclude all liability?

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Can my new business exclude all liability?

I am attempting to start up a small baseball training program out of my garage
where there will be weightlifting among other activities. I am wondering if I can
exclude all liability and responsibility of the health and safety of the
customers in my terms and conditions. The reason I ask this is because though I
will teach proper form and technique, injury with weightlifting is almost
inevitable and kids may joke around and cause harm on themselves. Under no
circumstance do I want to be held responsible for an injury and be sued. All help
is appreciated. Thanks

Asked on May 30, 2016 under Business Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No one can exclude all liability--you can reduce it, but not negate it entirely.
First, have your adult clients and the parents/legal guardians of minor clients execute a liabilty release form in which they acknowledge the risks of physical training and agree that you are not liable for those risks. This will help protect you from the common run of risks, such as someone straining, pulling, etc. something, or breaking a foot by dropping a weight on it, etc.
But you cannot exclude or limit your liability from anything you do which is *your* fault, such as if an injury occurs because of a flaw in your training or supervision--the only liabilty that can be limited is that due to the nature of the activity, and not that due to what you personally (or fail to do, in regards to safety precautions).
So you should also form an LLC and run the business through the LLC. That will further help insulate your personal assets from business-related liability.
Third, buy adequate liability and umbrella insurance, and make sure your home insurer knows you are running a home based training business--if you don't tell them, your homeowner's insurance could likely disclaim or deny coverage, because you will not be using the home purely as a residence, which what standard homeowner's insurance covers.
Have an attorney help you with the waiver form; the lawyer can also set up the LLC for you. Talk with a reputable insurance agent about your insurnace needs. If your business will not economically support the fairly minor costs of having a lawyer set things up right and getting proper insurance, it is not economically worth pursuing, given the risks if you don't take the right precautions.


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