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 Post subject: Dojo Insurance
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 1998 2:01 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 3754
Location: Richmond, VA
Van, Moe, 'Lurkers', Allen, Jackie, Lori, George sensei.........et al:

With all the worry about attackers outside the dojo, what about the ones possibly inside - the litigous? Bill G. sensei and I are looking into liability insurance for our dojo in the health club. Bill posted a thread on his site soliciting input with one response from Evan sensei. How about you'all?

What are your experiences? Who do you deal with? How much is enough? We have had a torn ACL and a truly serious wrist fracture in the dojo but the members understood the intent and risk and took care of themselves without a whimper. We may not be so lucky next time.

All advice is welcome.

Rich


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 Post subject: Dojo Insurance
PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 1998 12:04 pm 
Hello Rich,

I lost a finger in a TangSooDo Dojang once to an overzealous type and could have easily owned that beautiful, well-equipped UNINSURED Dojang if I so desired if I would have filed suit for negligence. It would have been EASY to do so -- E-A-S-Y. I looked into my options to cover my medical expenses but it was not in me to run a sword through someone. I recommend not allowing students to free-spar unless Sensei is present and WATCHING. NOT sparring unless he is one of only two sparring at any given moment.

Fortunately, micro-surgery gave my finger, broken clean-off at the knuckle except for a little piece of meat, back to me and restored virtually full-functionality.

Back to the suit thing... Using the yellow pages of the phone company in Massachusetts, investigating for my own dojo, I found several companies which offer dojo liability policies for around $300.00; much less then the cost of an ad in the phone book.

Allen



[This message has been edited by moulton (edited 11-08-98).]


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 Post subject: Dojo Insurance
PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 1998 3:24 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 875
Hello Rich,

I had posted this a couple months ago but copied it in here in case you might have missed it then...

One of my students is a lawyer and other than the benefits he brings to the dojo through his dedication and effort and many other contributions, he has also lent his services to the dojo for various legal concerns regarding operating a business. He has made a few recommendations to me that I thought I would pass on -

I hold with the adage that anyone in business should have three professionals available to them before ever opening the door - regardless of type of business: that is a lawyer, a CPA, and a banker. Laws differ from state to state and to be safe it is best to cough up a few bucks and see a lawyer to discuss your potential liabilities if you teach anyone - whether in a recreation center, your backyard, or your own school.

That being said - we have developed two documents in our dojo that all new students must sign and notarize. Everyone is familiar with the standard release from liabiity form, and depending on where you live, you should be familiar as to how much weight it may hold up in court. It's value varies more than you might think. The second piece of paper is an "acknowledgment of training requirements" in which the student must acknowledge that they enter this training with the understanding that it is considered to be intense and physically demanding, involving contact with other students for the purpose of furthering training and practicing self defense techniques, and, in the course of this training, even though reasonable precautions will be taken, injuries, strains, bumps and bruises WILL occur as a matter of course. They also acknowlege that they know that protective gear is available to them, but it is their responsability to choose to use it or not. They have to sign that they acknowledge the potential of injury etc.

Now we are developing a third form that will become a part of our registration package. This form will basically be a "promise" from the student that they understand that they are learning serious self-defense techniques that can cause serious injury and even death. As such and recipients of this knowlege, they agree to NEVER use or practice these techniques outside of the dojo, unless they feel that they or their family/dependents are in mortal danger.

My lawyer informs me that absolutely nothing is iron-clad - and anything can be picked apart and fought and appealed, but by having these three documents on file, it shows forethought on the part of the instructor in that they acknowledge their teachings to be potentially dangerous, and have taken numerous steps to inform their students of the risks to themselves and others, and that the student chooses to continue even after being informed of these risks.

Certainly your own lawyer can help you draw up documents such as these - if you don't have a lawyer, and you teach, you may want to consider finding one - an ounce of prevention and all that.

Happy and safe teaching!

Peace,
Lori


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 Post subject: Dojo Insurance
PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 1998 6:15 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 148
Location: Boca Raton, FL
Rich,

Besides the obvious (get some liability insurance!!), I will not teach anyone who can not provide me with proof of their own medical insurance. Also, all students acknowledge, in writing, that physical injuries could and can result from the studies they are about to undertake and that they do so at their own risk (for what it's worth).

But I have found, as Lori and others will probably attest to, that the "best" insurance is to know a good civil attorney that will back you up 100%. Mine has been a close friend for some ten years - and I sleep very well at night.

Moe


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 Post subject: Dojo Insurance
PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 1998 10:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 3754
Location: Richmond, VA
Thanks for the great advice. Bill Glasheen sensei and I have been using a release form based on one I borrowed from Ron Klein sensei a few years ago. Sounds like I need an addendum. Lori - do you have anything in a file you could email me so I could get a start on additional documents?

We do operate in a health club, and everyone in there has signed the health club's form but the health club would probably not support us in the event of an injury. I'm intrigued by having students verify health care coverage - interesting idea. Personally I carry $2million in excess liability insurance which does offer some protection from lawsuits.

Regards, Rich


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 Post subject: Dojo Insurance
PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 1998 2:15 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 875
Rich,

I'd be happy to send you what I have - two of the forms are in a text format so I can send those via email - send your address to uechi-ryu@mindspring.com

We taught in the local recreation center for 15 years - and they also had their own release form - but the city lawyer told me it really wasn't worth the paper it was printed on ...again, as my lawyer told me - anything can be worked over in court - but by having all of these things outlined in print and signed by the participants, it shows forethought on the part of the instructor...

Moe had a good paragraph he put in a prior post - maybe he can re-post it also.

Peace,
Lori


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