An Examination of Waiver Usage and Injury-Related Liability Claims in Health/Fitness Facilities in Australia
AbstractUnder Australian law, recreational service providers can use exclusion (exculpatory) clauses in their service contracts to diminish legal liability for personal injury or death due to negligence. The purpose of this study was to examine (a) the use (i.e., development and administration) of liability waivers, (b) the number of liability claims stemming from injuries, and (c) the types and locations of injuries occurring in health/fitness facilities in Queensland, Australia. The data were collected using a cross-sectional risk management survey of health/fitness facilities. Fifty-two health/fitness facility managers responded to the survey. The results indicated that waiver forms were used at all of the health/fitness facilities participating in the study. In addition, there were a total of 28 legal claims filed against the health/fitness facilities (19%, n = 10) for orthopedic injuries that were predominantly settled out of court. The findings suggest that health/fitness facilities should develop and implement comprehensive risk management programs to reduce the risk of injuries and subsequent liability claims.