Best Practices Resources

Our best practices are a practical guide to help you avoid unnecessary claims

Barbers, Beauticians, Hair Stylist & Makeup Artist

Keep the space around your chair clean - It is extremely important to keep the floor around your workspace clear. Clients can and do trip and fall, which can result in a claim.

Do not use your client's image without their permission - Barbers, hairstylists and beauticians commonly use photos of their clients to promote their own work. You must obtain the correct permissions to use someone else's photo for commercial gain.

Avoid refusing service to a potential client - Discrimination lawsuits occur when a client feels they have been refused service due to their race, gender or religion. These suits can be costly and time consuming.

Price your haircuts by the work performed - Haircuts are occasionally priced based on whether a men's or women's cut is being provided. In order to avoid gender discrimination claims, it is advisable to price based on service provided, such as the length of the cut.

Post your prices clearly with the corresponding service - By presenting your prices next to the description of service, your customers will know what they are being charged up front. With clearly displayed pricing, you can avoid disputes regarding what you charge for your services.

Court Reporters

Remember the basics - Do not omit any portions of the trial transcripts or produce inaccurate transcripts. A careful proofread of all transcripts can help you avoid significant mistakes.

Timeliness - In order to avoid being held in contempt of court for not producing transcripts in a timely fashion, it is important to know the expectations of the attorney when arranging the delivery of the transcripts.

Keep track of your transcripts - Although rare, court reporters have faced jail time for misplacing transcripts.

Collect the relevant exhibits - It can be difficult, if not impossible, to track down exhibits once a deposition has ended. Do not be afraid to obtain all of the necessary exhibits while they are available.

Know the relevant names and terms - Do not hesitate to ask if you do not know the correct spelling of someone's name or an unusual term. In some cases, you can request the definitions of relevant terms to improve your accuracy.

Arrive to all court hearings or depositions on time - If you are unable to attend as planned, notify the agency you are working with to avoid any repercussions.

Do not hesitate to interrupt the proceedings - Someone who is speaking quickly or mumbling can make the process of recording nearly impossible. By asking them to speak up, you can help guarantee the accuracy of your reporting.

Back up your records - Maintaining duplicate copies of your transcripts can ensure that the loss of a transcript will not cause unwarranted harm. Claims from an involved party who alleges that they have been harmed by the loss of the transcript are common.

Comply with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations - If you fail to correctly handle what qualifies as Personally Identifiable Information (PII), you can face legal ramifications. It is prudent to keep original exhibits in a locked, secured room and electronic data on servers that are protected by a firewall with updated anti-virus software.

Fitness Instructors

Signed waivers - Every physical activity involves a certain amount of risk of injury. In addition to liability insurance, protect yourself with a waiver signed by every client. These should be crafted in accordance with requirements for your state. Check with your local attorney or industry group for appropriate wording.

Listen to your clients - Without an appropriate screening questionnaire, waivers are not a guaranteed defense. It is vital for you to determine the level of risk that your client may present. Refer high risk clients for medical clearance before starting a program. Check with your certifying organization for their recommended questionnaire.

Proper instruction for use of machines and proper form - Many claims against personal trainers allege that the trainer did not instruct the client on the proper use of the machine or the proper form which resulted in injury. Have the client sign a form indicating that you instructed them on the use of each machine. Perform regular walk-throughs to ensure proper use and also to look for other potentials for injury or tripping hazards in the area.

Avoid high risk exercises - With the growing popularity of more extreme workouts, personal trainers are looking for ways to make their programs exciting and new. However, high risk exercises or those that are beyond your client's abilities come with high injury rates. When an injury occurs, is a jury filled with middle aged individuals or senior citizens going to view your exercise as reasonably safe.

Don't get so physical - Perceived inappropriate or unwanted touching becomes a he-said she-said court battle, and even groundless lawsuits can have a devastating effect on your career.

Avoid acting as a dietitian or endorser of supplements - Diet is such an important component of what you want to include but unless you are a registered dietician, you should not give out meal plans or make individualized nutritional assessments. Legally, only state registered dieticians can provide nutrition counseling. Do not recommend or sell supplements.

Emergency response plan - Even an injury or medical emergency not caused by your negligence can result in a claim against you if you don't give proper aid after the injury or medical emergency. Have a plan and first aid equipment for any medical emergency. If you have the equipment, make sure it works and is properly inspected. Fitness facilities have even been sued for not having a working defibrillator (AED).

Interpreters & Translators

The importance of remaining neutral - Interpreters often work in high stress and emotional situations. Claims have resulted from interpreters ceasing to translate or incorrectly translating in the middle of an important conversation. When emotions are high, it is easy to want to interject your own opinions.

Always maintain a strong grasp on your target languages - The confusion of important words during the translation process can negatively impact your client. It is best if you are a native speaker or have a native speaker's understanding.

Convey the meaning of the words - In cases where things are moving quickly or in a high pressure situation, it can be easy to translate word-for-word, ultimately missing the meaning of what is being said. Word-for-word translations can result in harmful misunderstandings.

Know the cultural context - Since the same language can vary substantially given the country or region where the speaker is from, it is important to know the background and cultural context of who you are working with.

Be familiar with industry jargon in both languages - When translating within a particular industry or field, it is valuable to know the relevant terms and their translations.

Life Coaches

Know your limitations - It is important to remember that life coaching is not therapy. If a client is in need of treatment from a licensed therapist but does not pursue it due to their work with a life coach, a suit could arise. The focus of coaching sessions should be on helping your clients set and achieve personal and professional goals for the future. If the need arises, refer your client to a licensed specialist.

Draw appropriate boundaries - Ultimately, your clients are responsible for themselves. Avoid pressuring your clients into making decisions or implementing practices they are not comfortable with. Claims have resulted from clients who were pressured by their coach to quit their job, only to have them realize that they made a wrong decision. As a life coach, it is in your best interest to provide support, advice and encouragement.

Manage the expectations of your clients - In your first session with a client, it is valuable to clarify your role as a life coach. A client may not fully understand the services you provide, which can lead to misunderstandings as your working relationship with the client progresses.

Maintain confidentiality - Though life coaches are not subject to the same confidentiality laws as therapists or medical professionals, it is important to treat the information from your clients as confidential. Your clients assume that you are a trusted professional and expect their privacy.


Keep a log of all notarial acts - A record can aid if you need to testify in court or prove that you were compliant when notarizing. Remember to make note of special circumstances and store your records for at least five years.

Stay disciplined with the basics - Always ensure that the signer is present before notarizing and that they provide the appropriate evidence for identification. It is common for employee notaries to be presented with documents that have been already signed or unsigned documents to be notarized. Living by the basics can help you avoid claims.

Do not notarize documents that you know to contain false content - As relationships are built with clients, you might face pressure to notarize documents that you do not feel comfortable notarizing. You may be asked to testify about these documents at some point in the future and your reputation and license might be on the line.

Do not allow another person to notarize on your behalf - An individual can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony for impersonating a notary.

Do not notarize over webcam - With the growing popularity of video conferencing, a notary may be expected to notarize over a webcam. It is legally required that the notary be physically present in the same room when notarizing a document. The presence of a person on a screen does not qualify.

Communicate directly with the signer - Most states do not allow you to communicate to a signer through an interpreter or translator. Check the requirements of the state where you conduct business.

Photographers & Videographers

Always use written contracts - A written contract that is signed by both parties helps outline the extent of the services you will provide to your client. This will help to protect you in the case that a client sues you for not meeting their expectations. Consult a local attorney to ensure that your contract meets the necessary state requirements.

Back up your photographs and videos - Some of the most common claims against photographers and videographers stem from lost photos or videos that were guaranteed as a part of a contract and were not received due to a failed memory card or stolen camera that was not backed up. Make sure that you have a system in place to prevent this incident from happening.

Protect your equipment - Cameras are stolen often and are expensive to replace. Transport your cameras securely and store them in a safe place when they are not in use.

Listen to your clients - Whether you are working on family portraits or a wedding, your clients often have specific preferences when it comes to the photos they would like you to take. It is important to know what your clients are expecting, even though you have some artistic license.

Maintain strict deadlines - You can set valuable and realistic expectations with your clients by communicating when the photos or videos will be edited and ready. By sticking to the deadlines that you set, you can help prevent a claim from a client who believes you did not deliver the final product in a timely fashion.

Get the appropriate releases from all models - Get the required signed releases from all individuals involved in a shoot when taking photographs or video for commercial use.

Travel Agents

Always offer travel insurance to your clients - In the case of an international crisis or outbreak of a disease, a client may cancel their trip even if their destination not impacted by the crisis. A suit may be brought by the client who canceled their trip when they realize they are unable to recoup their money. By offering travel insurance, you will help prevent claims such as these. Travel insurance offers limited coverage so be careful not to misrepresent the terms of the coverage.

Double-check your bookings - Lawsuits have been filed against travel agents who have accidentally purchased one-way tickets, leaving travelers stranded in foreign countries. To prevent this, implement procedures or checklists to confirm all necessary bookings have been made prior to a trip.

Always use written disclaimers or waivers - Since a suit can be brought against a travel agent based on the failure of a hotel or vendor, use a disclaimer to provide an extra layer of legal protection. A local attorney can help you craft the appropriate disclaimer or waiver of liability.

Build a strong network of suppliers - When you maintain ongoing supplier connections, it helps to ensure consistent quality for your clients. A personal connection can also protect you if something goes wrong.

Know the required travel documents - It is your duty to inform your client of the necessary passport or visa requirements for the countries they plan to visit. You can be sued for not warning your clients of the need for the correct travel documents prior to their departure.


Set appropriate expectations - Tutors may be sued by parents whose child fails an important exam. Due to this risk, it is valuable to discuss your role by setting reasonable expectations and goals with all the parties involved. Do not make promises that cannot be upheld.

Tailor your lessons to the individual - What works for one student may not work for another. Listen to the feedback your students provide and make the appropriate adjustments. By assessing your students individually and maintaining flexibility in your tutoring style, you will increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.

Be prepared - Preparation can maximize the time spent with a student. It is valuable to have a working knowledge of the topic you are discussing with your student. Create an agenda to structure each meeting.

Know your role - Tutors have been sued for completing students' assignments, assisting with take-home exams or commenting on other instructors. You are responsible for helping the student through the learning process rather than doing their work for them.

Stay safe - When conducting one-on-one tutoring sessions, try to meet your client in a public space during daytime hours. Always have your mobile phone with you and be quick to report any incidents. Perceived inappropriate or unwanted touching becomes a he-said she-said court battle, and even groundless lawsuits can have a devastating effect on your career.

Wedding & Party Planners

Always use written contracts - All clients have some degree of expectation for the event you plan for them, whether it is a wedding or a birthday party. Always use written contracts signed by your customers to confirm the details and to protect you if a client is unhappy with the event. A local attorney or industry group can help you word the contract correctly.

Be timely and thorough - A party planner might forget to book a venue, send out an invitation with the wrong date or arrange the incorrect food with a caterer. All of these mistakes can result in costly claims. To avoid this, it is important to track your bookings and double-check the details of each event.

Know your vendors - Problems can arise from the failure of a vendor you have hired for a party. If a caterer fails to provide food in a timely fashion at a wedding you planned, you can be held responsible since you recommended or hired the vendor. Be familiar with your vendors and find vendors you can trust.

Maintain open communication with your clients - Planning parties and weddings can involve clients who are highly stressed. Moreover, weddings can involve multiple people with strong opinions. Remember your duty to communicate with your client and filter out the opinions of others that your client does not agree with. Keeping written documentation of plans and changes is the best defense to a claim.

Coverage is based on the terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions of your policy. Be sure to read your policy to verify your coverage.

CoverSmart is the best way to buy business insurance.

CoverSmart is an online quoting platform to purchase insurance from one or more USLI companies.
USLI companies are members of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies and have an A++ Superior
rating for financial stability from A.M. Best Company.