Workout Injuries: When Might a Gym Be Held Liable?
During gym exercise, weight training, or group classes, one wrong movement can cause workout injuries ranging from temporary pain to a problem that requires surgery.
Common injuries at the gym include:
- Knee pain and injuries
- Back and neck pain and injuries
- Sprained ankle
- Shoulder pain and injuries
There are many articles online explaining the best ways to avoid these injuries, such as stretching and getting help from a spotter. It is also the duty of the gym and its employees to provide a safe environment for members and avoid causing accidents and physical harm. That means maintaining safety on the premises, checking equipment for problems and defects, and hiring and properly training employees.
Hidden Language in Gym Contracts
To avoid responsibility for injuries their members sustain, many gyms require new members to sign membership and personal training agreements that contain “waiver of liability” language. Employees often ask members to sign these contracts on an electronic pad without allowing them to first review the text. When members get injured at the gym, courts enforce the waivers and prevent them from pursing claims.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself: When signing up for a gym membership, always ask to see the contracts the company is asking you to sign. Before signing, cross out and initial all clauses that limit liability— it’s currently the only way to protect your rights when joining a gym.
Premises Liability at the Gym
Any business owner has the legal duty to ensure his or her premises are in reasonably safe condition for the people there. Due to the nature of the business, poor conditions at a gym can have dangerous consequences. Gym owners and managers might be held liable for injuries resulting from unsafe conditions such as the following:
- Slip and fall injuries due to slippery or worn out floors
- Equipment, cords or debris left on the floor
- Bad pool conditions
- Unsecure equipment or televisions that may fall
Gym owners and management must do their due diligence to keep people safe by preventing these and other hazards from harming people. If a problem cannot be addressed and repaired immediately, those responsible are required to warn of the dangers or keep gym members away from it.
Workout Injuries Caused by Defective Gym Equipment
Gym equipment is often solid and very heavy, especially workout machines, benches, and weights. Malfunctions can cause users to suffer catastrophic physical harm, so it’s the duty of the gym to inspect, maintain, and repair all equipment as needed to ensure everything is in usable condition. If it cannot be fixed or maintained, it must be removed from use.
Poorly Trained Staff, Instructors, and Personal Trainers
Gym members should be able to rely on all staff members, class instructors and personal trainers to have the knowledge and experience to maintain a safe atmosphere in all areas of the gym. Inadequately trained employees can make a wrong move that results in severe workout injuries.
Next Steps if You Were Injured at the Gym
As with any injury, seeking professional medical help right away is critical. Workout injuries at the gym might seem superficial at first, but they could later turn into debilitating pain and bigger problems than you might have initially thought. Having official medical records immediately following the injury could also be valuable in proving your injuries resulted from the gym’s negligence.
After visiting a qualified health care professional, contact a knowledgeable law firm to tell them what happened. An attorney with experience handling gym injury cases can investigate your situation and determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit against the gym.