If you outsource employee training programs that include self-defense or other physically demanding work, be aware that the waivers signed by your employees may mean you will have to pay for any injuries.
If your workers' compensation insurer pays workers' comp benefits for training injuries, and the injured worker sues the contractor directly, the insurer may be able to claim reimbursement for your payments. However, the waiver your employee signs may prevent the employee and the insurer from recovering anything.
Case in point: Sandra Willis participated in self-defense training as part of her police job. She signed a waiver with the outside trainer and was hurt during the training. She received workers' comp payments for her injury, but sued the trainer for negligence. The workers' comp insurer intervened to recover its costs. The court dismissed the case, concluding that the release was effective, limiting Willis to her comp payments. (Willis, et al., v. Willoughby, No. 07-05-0190, Texas Court of Appeals, 2006)
Tip: When arranging outside training, it may be wise to include a contract clause that requires the trainer to reimburse the company for any workers' comp costs you incur due to injured employees. Ask your workers' comp insurer for advice.
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