When you open a Texas martial arts dojo, you want to make sure you’re protected legally.
For example, what if a student breaks a leg while sparring? Or halfway through a membership term, the student wants to walk away and quit paying?
Although there are unique factors you’ll want to discuss with a qualified Texas business lawyer, here are some common things to do to protect yourself as the Texas dojo owner.
1. First, you’ll want to operate using a business entity that has a personal liability shield that protects your personal assets (home, vehicle, bank accounts, etc.) from being taken from you if something goes wrong and there are damages to be paid. In Texas, the most popular entity to use is a limited liability company (LLC). A few dojo owners will use a Subchapter S corporation instead.
2. Then, you’ll want to make sure you have a membership agreement in place that protects your legal rights. For example, if you use a membership contract that violates the Texas Health Spa Act, the agreement is unenforceable. This means every one of your students can walk away without honoring the agreement.
3. Of course, you’ll want to have waivers of liability. Typically, the terms will be different for members versus visitors to your dojo. These waivers reduce your dojo’s risk of being sued or paying out damages if someone gets injured at your facility whether or not they’re training when it happens.
4. And you’ll want a valid media release so that you can record videos and take photos of members and visitors that you can use to promote your dojo in advertising, social media, and even instructional videos.
5. Now if you have people working as personal trainers, front desk staff, etc., you should have written employment contracts or independent contractor agreements in place with each of them. Which type of agreement you will use depends on the nature of the worker’s relationship with your dojo.
In addition to the legal documents, you’ll also want to have liability insurance in place to cover your dojo in case there is a personal injury or other claim. However, understand that this is more protection, not a replacement for the legal documents. Because sometimes an insurance company will deny a claim and you’ll still want the protections provided by the membership agreement, liability waivers, etc.
Need help putting the right legal protections in place for your Texas martial arts dojo? Schedule a phone consultation with Attorney Mike Young because he’s one of the few Texas lawyers who focuses on protecting dojo owners.