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How to Avoid Liability as a Personal Trainer

avoid liability

As a personal trainer, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your clients are safe and healthy. This can be difficult when you’re in the middle of an intense workout or helping them reach their goals. It’s important that you know how to avoid liability as a personal trainer. 

That way, you can focus on helping them achieve their goals instead of worrying about whether or not they’ll sue you if they get hurt during one of your sessions. 

In this post, we’ll discuss some ways that you can protect yourself from liability claims by avoiding common mistakes made by other trainers who have been sued in the past. 

If you’re looking for a quick cost estimate on how much a personal trainer insurance might cost you, check out NerdWallet’s post.

This Article in a Nutshell

  • Taking precautions to avoid liability is one of the staples of a successful personal training career.
  • One effective tool for this is the use of liability waivers, which clients sign to acknowledge the risks associated with exercise and hold the trainer harmless in case of injury or accident.
  • Liability waivers are not foolproof and should be used in conjunction with proper training practices, documentation, and communication with clients.

Understanding the Scope of Practice

The scope of practice is the range of activities that you are allowed to perform as a personal trainer. If you go outside your scope of practice, it can lead to liability issues for both you and your client, plain and simple.

So how do you stay within the scope of practice? Here’s how:

  • Understand what activities fall under your license or certification requirements
  • Keep records of all training sessions with clients and their progress toward goals (this will help demonstrate that you were acting within the scope)

The Role of Certification and Licensing

Certification and licensing are important aspects of the personal training industry. You shouldn’t even be practising without a PT license. Luckily, there are many bodies that offer certifications that prove your expertise as a personal trainer, and shield you from liability. 

Some of them include:

Certification can help you stay up-to-date with current trends in the industry and make sure that you’re always providing your clients with the best possible service. 

It also helps protect yourself from liability by showing potential clients that you have met certain standards of knowledge and expertise before working with them directly.

Creating a Safe Training Environment

avoid liability as a personal trainer

When you’re working out with a client, it’s crucial to create a safe training environment. This means that you should take steps to ensure that your client feels comfortable and protected during their workout. 

You can do this by providing proper equipment and making sure they have access to water or other drinks if needed. It seems simple, but these basic provisions can go a long way.

If you fail to create such an environment, there could be serious consequences – especially if someone gets hurt while training with you! 

If someone slips on wet floors because they weren’t properly dried off after taking a shower (or even just washing their hands), then they may file suit against you for negligence or wrongful death.

Providing Accurate Information

Providing accurate information is an essential part of your job. If you give clients incorrect or misleading information, they may suffer serious injuries as a result. This can lead to liability on your part and could even cost you your business if the client decides to sue you for damages. 

For example, if your client injures their back because of a faulty deadlift variation you showed them, they could sue you and put your practice at risk.

To avoid this type of situation, it’s important that you are well-versed in basic anatomy and physiology principles before providing any advice or guidance about exercise programs for your clients. That’s basically why you spend so much time acquiring a PT certificate.

You should also be able to recognize signs of injury so that you can refer clients back to their doctors if necessary.

Establishing Professional Boundaries

avoid liability as a personal trainer

Establishing professional boundaries is one of the most important things you can do as a personal trainer. It is also one of the most difficult things to do because it requires you to set limits on what you will and won’t do for your clients.

Setting clear boundaries with your clients helps keep them safe and healthy while also protecting yourself from liability issues down the road. 

Imagine, for example, that one of your potential clients asks for advice on how much weight he should lift during his workout (and he’s not actually interested in hiring you as his trainer). 

It’s best not to answer this question without first establishing whether or not he wants help from someone else at all – or even if he has any interest in working out at all!

The Use of Liability Waivers

One way to help protect yourself from liability as a personal trainer is to use liability waivers. A liability waiver is a legal document that clients sign before starting a training session with you. 

The waiver typically states that the client understands the risks associated with exercise and agrees to hold you harmless in the event of an injury or accident.

Using a liability waiver can be a powerful tool in protecting yourself from liability claims. However, it’s important to remember that a waiver is not a bulletproof shield against liability. 

If you are found to be negligent or reckless in your training practices, a waiver may not protect you from legal action.

When using a liability waiver, be sure to:

  • Have the waiver reviewed by a lawyer to ensure that it is legally binding and covers all necessary aspects
  • Make sure the client fully understands what they are signing and what risks they are assuming
  • Keep a copy of the signed waiver on file for future reference in case of any legal issues

Remember that a liability waiver is not a substitute for proper training practices, documentation, and communication with your clients. It is simply an additional layer of protection that can be useful in certain situations.

Jotform has a great liability waiver template you can use.

Maintaining Client Confidentiality

It’s essential to maintain client confidentiality, meaning that you should never share sensitive client info with anyone else unless they are also working with the client or have permission from the client themselves.

If you do not maintain client confidentiality, there can be serious consequences for both yourself and your business:

  • Your reputation will be damaged if people find out that their personal information has been leaked inappropriately
  • You could lose clients because they don’t want their information shared with others
  • You could also get sued when clients find out you breached confidentiality
avoid liability as a personal trainer

For more details about the possible legal issues you could face as a PT, check out Legal Donut’s guide.

Using Proper Documentation

Another critical thing you can do to avoid liability is to use proper documentation. This means that you have written down all of your client’s information, including their name, address and phone number, so that if anything happens to them while they are in your care, you have a record of it. 

You should also keep track of any medical conditions or allergies they may have. That way, if something does happen while they’re training with you, the hospital will know what they need right away.

These things are essential not only because they make things easier for everyone involved but also because there are potential consequences if you don’t have proper documentation.

In a worst-case scenario, you could get sued by an injured client if they feel like their injury was caused by something related to their training session with you (this would be called negligence).


The most important thing to remember is that you are not a doctor, and your clients should not be treated as if they were. 

If a client has an injury or condition requiring medical attention, it’s up to them to seek a medical professional.

In addition, it’s essential for you as a personal trainer to understand your limits when it comes to handling injuries or conditions that require special training or knowledge. 

Before you go, you should also check out our blog on Becoming a successful personal trainer.

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