Keeping fit is very important for your health, and as a result 52.9 million Americans are gym members (according to the latest IHRSA annual report)
The benefits of working out are well known, however there is also a high risk of injury . People may be out of shape or careless when working out, not stretching muscles beforehand or using equipment improperly. Falls, sprains, strains and broken bones can happen frequently and it is usually the gym-goers fault. Gym owners know this which is why they require members to sign some form of waiver of liability or “assumption of risk.” This will generally preclude the filing of a personal injury claim, however there are some instances whereby a gym may be liable for an accident or injury that occurs during a workout session.
There are certain injuries which may not be covered by a waiver.
There are some injuries that may result from reckless conduct on the part of the gym, or one of its employees. A gym is required to maintain a safe and clean workout environment, making sure equipment is maintained properly. For example, if an instructor knew that a piece of equipment was faulty and let you use it anyway, and this resulted in you being injured, that is considered an outrageous action. If you pick up some seriously infectious illness from either the equipment or the facilities, that too would be considered reckless action which might not be covered by a waiver.
There can also be instances where you are intentionally assaulted or injured by someone in the gym. For example someone may be messing around and swinging weight bars and hits you causing a serious injury, in this case you may be able to sue that person individually.
Product and premise liability
As with any other type of business activity, a gym owner must make sure that their premises are safe for members and visitors. They are responsible for inspecting the premises for any potential dangers. Even if they, or their staff, were unaware of a dangerous condition, they could still be liable if they had not carried out the correct inspection procedures which would have revealed the danger.
Similarly, as with any faulty products, it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to make sure their goods meet industry safety standards, and must warn users about potential risks associated with improper use. If a manufacturer sells faulty workout equipment, a signed waiver will not protect them from a potential product liability claim.
What you should do after a gym accident
Most people assume that the waiver they signed when they became a member will prevent them from pursuing any action against a gym or other party. This isn’t always true. Waivers prevent you from taking some actions, but they don’t completely protect the gym from personal injury liability.
The first thing to do if you suffer a serious injury at the gym is to get proper medical treatment, immediately. Injuries can range from a pulled muscle due to lack of warm up, to falling from a treadmill due to incorrect instructions being given. If you suspect gross negligence, then you should try to document (https://gbagenlaw.com/keep_an_injury_diary/) any dangerous conditions that led to your injury. This information may be fundamental to any potential claim. .
If your injuries were caused by an intentional act, contact the local police. The perpetrator may be subject to criminal prosecution plus the fact that police reports will also help substantiate your claims in a personal injury lawsuit.
It is important for you to keep fit, and it’s just as important that you receive fair compensation should you suffer a preventable injury in a gym environment.
Free consultation to protect your rights
Attorney Bagen has been helping accident victims in Putnam County for over 40 years. If you have been injured at the gym or in any other type of accident, contact Attorney Bagen for a free consultation.