Most of the time when we join a gym, we sign a waiver that prevents us from pursuing any legal action if we are injured during our workouts. It’s all there in the fine print, absolving the gym of any responsibility if we find ourselves dealing with physical injuries. That means that our wrenched necks, knee sprains, and other injuries are ours to cover.
What if our injuries are serious?
There are exceptions, despite that damning fine print.
The gym: A home away from home
Millions of Americans belong to gyms or fitness centers, and according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, about half a million visits to the ER are the result of injuries caused by exercise equipment.
We know when we sign the membership agreements that we sign away our right to file suits against the gym, but that is only applicable when the gym meets certain standards.
The most common causes of injuries at the gym are caused by overexertion, free weight incidents, slip and fall accidents, defective equipment, and poorly maintained facilities.
Injuries generally include strains, sprains, and bruises, back and neck injuries, broken bones, heart attacks and traditional exercise-related injuries such as shoulder, knee and leg injuries, wrist sprains, shin splints or groin pulls.
What should I do if I am injured?
If you are injured at the gym, there are some circumstances that will allow.
Here’s what to do:
- Notify gym staff immediately after the accident. If you wait too long, it will be difficult to prove the injury occurred at the gym.
- Contact the gym’s insurance company.
- See your doctor. If injuries are severe, allow the gym to call an ambulance. It’s important to have an evaluation as soon as possible so there is no question that the injury is related to a gym incident.
- Keep copious records. Photographs, medical records, witness statements – including other people working out at the gym who may have witnessed your accident – will be important aspects of your claim.
- No matter the circumstances of your injury, you will need evidence to prove your claim.
- What the gym’s attorneys will say
If you attempt to collect compensation for an injury at the gym, you will likely be told that you knew the risks when you signed up. While that is true regarding exercise, you likely didn’t expect to be injured because the gym failed to properly maintain equipment, and that could work in your favor.
Injuries that are related to typical gym activity should fall under the liability waiver you signed, but falls from wet floors with no signage, broken glass and faulty equipment don’t always fall under that clause, and it’s possible you can seek compensation despite signing the waiver, which usually has language that is pretty firm and inflexible.
Serious injuries that are suffered as the result of a gym’s gross negligence, however, may be looked at differently.
If there is evidence in your favor – the gym failed to replace faulty equipment, for example – and you’ve hired the right personal injury attorney, no waiver of liability will prevent you from pursuing a claim.
When you’ve suffered serious injuries because of a gym’s negligence, don’t give up. It’s possible you can be compensated fairly and generously for those injuries.
If you have questions about a personal injury case and how to pay your medical bills, call a personal injury lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer in West Palm Beach, Fl, today.
Thank you to the experts at The Law Office of Eric H. Luckman, P.A. for their input into personal injury law and no-fault cases.