Gym Injuries and Liabilities - California Injury Lawyers

Gym Injuries and Liabilities


Gym injuries are not unusual — after all, that’s where you go to get physically fit and sometimes you overdo it. But when things go awry and you find yourself injured because someone else did something stupid or negligent or irresponsible, they may be liable. Here are five legal tips for gym members.

1. I Fell at the Gym: Can I Sue?

People get hurt working out, and so it is common practice for a gym to have you sign a waiver when you join, or even when you just take a single class. Still, no business can waive all responsibility for anything that happens and courts have found waivers to be void in some gym injury negligence cases. So do read your waiver carefully, but don’t assume that you can’t sue if you signed one and were injured at the gym due to someone else’s negligence.

2. Your Gym Owes You a Duty of Care

Every business owes its patrons a duty of care. In the case of a gym, the management has a duty to keep premises safe and clean and free of spills and obstacles that could endanger you. If your gym is negligent in its efforts to keep the place reasonably safe and you are injured as a result, consult with a lawyer about your options. Under premises liability law, gyms must inspect for defects and can be held responsible for problems that they should have known about even if they were unaware.

3. CrossFit Injuries: Can You Sue?

CrossFit is but one of many gym crazes that, though effective, is not for everyone. A 2012 study found that the training markedly improves fitness but several test subjects were unable to continue because they were injured. That study has been used in lawsuits by gym users and an owner. If you’re feeling less than fit after a CrossFit stint, consider talking to a lawyer, in addition to a physician.

4. Suing a Personal Trainers for Harm

Suing a personal trainer if you are injured as a result of your work with them is an option. You will have to prove all the elements of a negligence case — duty, breach, causation, and harm. Familiarize yourself with these and you will know the basics of personal injury claims. Your trainer is only responsible for damages if their negligence caused your harm.

5. Not so Soothing Massage Suits

If your gyms offers massages and you are injured as a result of a session that doesn’t soothe, the principles of personal injury apply. A massage therapist owes you a duty of care — no question there. So, if you prove that the duty was breached and that massage was the cause of your injury, you will recover damages … and hopefully in time your physical fitness.

Talk to a Lawyer:

If you’ve been injured at the gym or elsewhere and you believe it was due to someone’s negligence, talk to a lawyer. Many personal injury attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to assess your claim.

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I Fell at the Gym, Can I Sue?
By Christopher Coble, Esq.

We go to the gym to stay healthy, even visiting the hotel gym while on vacation. And we often overlook the health risks of exercising in a gym (usually because we’re glued to the TV while on a StairMaster).

In a closed environment littered with exercise equipment, towels, sweat, and other workout aficionados, it’s no wonder accidents happen at the gym. But if you’re injured in a fall while exercising, could the gym be legally responsible? Can you sue?

Waive(r) Goodbye to Your Claim?

Many gyms will try to avoid responsibility for member injuries through liability waivers. While these waivers may say that you can’t sue the gym if you get hurt while working out, some of these agreements have been found unenforceable by courts:

Total Waiver of Liability. These are designed for the gym to be free of all liability for any injury that occurs on the premises. However, these expansive types of agreements can be held as overly broad and thus unenforceable in court.
Waiver for Intentional Acts. Courts have also found attempts to avoid legal claims for intentional or reckless conduct that injures someone unconscionable or against public policy.
Waiver for Negligence. With the exceptions noted below, courts will generally enforce waivers for injuries caused by the gym or its employees’ own negligence.
So even if you’ve signed a liability waiver for your gym, you may still be able to sue if the injury is not your fault.

Promise of Safe Premises

Property owners can be held liable for injuries that occur on their property. This is known as premises liability. As business owners, gyms must take reasonable steps to assure the safety of the premises, including regular inspections of the facility for defects and potential dangers.

If the gym owner or staff should have known about a potential injury risk and failed to take action, you may have a valid premises liability claim. If you’ve been injured at the gym, you may want to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney near you.

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If You’re Injured at the Gym, Can You Sue?
By Jenny Tsay, Esq.

Injuries at the gym are fairly common. Whether it’s pulling a muscle from doing too many reps or slipping in the locker because an overflowing shower made the floor wet, you may be wondering if your gym membership allows you to recover damages.

So can you sue your gym if you’re injured on the premises? Here are a few factors to consider before you file a lawsuit:

What Does Your Liability Waiver Say?

Most gyms require members to sign some type of liability waiver before joining. It’s very possible that heavy lifting or exercise will lead to injuries, so gym owners are rightfully protecting themselves from lawsuits by enforcing liability waivers. However, depending on the type of liability waiver found in your contract, you may still be able to sue if you’re injured at the gym.

Some common liability waivers found in gym contracts include:

A total waiver of liability. This means that the gym is free of all liability for any injury that occurs there. However, these types of agreements can be held unenforceable in court if they’re overly broad.
A waiver for negligence. This prevents gym members from suing for injuries caused by the gym or its employees’ own negligence (i.e., accidents). These waivers are usually enforceable in court.
A waiver of liability for intentional acts. In general, it’s unconscionable or against public policy for courts to enforce waivers for intentional or reckless conduct that injures someone.
So depending on the type of liability waiver that’s found in your gym contract, you may be able to sue if you get injured at the gym. For example, if a gym owner knew that a weight machine was broken and could collapse if someone uses it, but doesn’t warn members or fix it, then it could be considered reckless behavior that warrants a lawsuit.

Potential Premises Liability Claims

Like all other businesses, gym owners have a duty to ensure that the facility is reasonably safe for members and anyone conducting business there. Under premises liability laws, gym owners are responsible for inspecting the facility for defects and potential dangers. Even the gym employees or owner didn’t know about a dangerous condition, they may be liable if a proper inspection would’ve revealed it.

So if you’re injured at the gym, check your membership contract and consult a personal injury attorney in your area about your potential legal claims.

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CrossFit Injuries: Can You Sue?
By Daniel Taylor, Esq.
CrossFit is growing increasingly popular, with gyms catering to fans of the high-intensity workouts opening across the country.

But along with CrossFit’s fitness benefits may also come the risk of injury. A 2012 Ohio State study on CrossFit workouts that found although tests subject showed a marked improvement in fitness, several of the subjects were unable to continue with the study due to "overuse or injury," reports Bloomberg Businessweek. That study is now the subject of multiple lawsuits by both the owner of the gym whose members took part in the study as well as CrossFit Inc., the company who owns the CrossFit brand.

But regardless of whether CrossFit is more dangerous than other workouts, the question remains: If you’re injured while doing CrossFit, can you sue?

Did You Sign a Liability Waiver?

Most gyms require that members sign a release form before joining that usually includes a liability waiver for certain injuries that occur at the gym. These waivers are generally enforceable, however there are limitations.

For example, a liability waiver may not release the gym from all liability for any injury that occurs. This type of waiver is usually found overly broad and unenforceable. Gym waivers, such as this CrossFit liability waiver template found in The CrossFit Journal generally seek to waive liability for lawsuits for injuries involving negligence by memorializing the member’s assumption of the risk.

Though these waivers may still be challenged in an injury lawsuit, a signed waiver may make it more difficult to recover for injuries caused by negligence. However, injuries caused by reckless or intentional conduct are generally not covered by liability waivers.

Premises Liability / Product Liability Claims

In addition to injuries caused by workouts, injuries that may be caused by unsafe conditions in a gym may lead to a lawsuit against the gym’s owners or tenants under the theory of premises liability. Premises liability holds the owners or occupiers of property liable for injuries caused by unsafe conditions on their property.

If you are injured due to malfunctioning or poorly designed workout equipment you may also have a product liability claim.

Learn more about personal injury lawsuits at FindLaw’s Learn About the Law section on Accidents and Injuries.

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Can I Sue My Personal Trainer?
By Ephrat Livni, Esq.
You can sue your trainer for a personal injury. Accidents and injuries that arise from the negligence of someone who has a duty of care to you, qualify for a lawsuit. But not all injuries are caused by negligence.

As long as all the elements of a personal injury claim can be proven, damage caused by your trainer’s negligence can be treated like any other personal injury matter. So, let’s review the elements of negligence and see how they apply to personal training.

Negligence in a Nutshell

Duty: To prove negligence, a plaintiff (that will be you) must show that the defendant — in this case your trainer — owed you a duty of care and that this duty was breached. Duty of care is simply the law’s recognition of a relationship between the defendant and the plaintiff that creates an obligation in the defendant to maintain a certain standard of care.
Breach: Breach of that duty of care, which results in injury, creates liability for the defendant. If a trainer fails to exercise reasonable care with a client — perhaps by pushing too much exercise too quickly — and the client is injured as a result, the defendant has been negligent.
Causation: Next, you must show cause. The defendant must be the actual cause of the injury. Causation in the exercise context might be a little tricky. If your training has reignited an old pain or ache and you never mentioned any limitations to your trainer that may make proving causation more difficult.
Damages: In order to prove negligence, you must show that you suffered an injury and that it is compensable. If your trainer breached the duty of care to you but you were never injured or suffered no harm, there is no basis for a lawsuit. But if you were injured and had medical expenses or lost work as a result, you may well have a compensable claim.
Talk to a Lawyer

Although your recent experience with your trainer may have made you wary of putting yourself in the hands of another, do not be deterred. Just like you sought a professional for your personal training, you should do the same for your legal case. Speak to a lawyer about your injury.

Many personal injury lawyers consult with clients for free or a minimal fee and many also work on contingency. Bring any relevant medical records you have to a consultation, your gym contract or the agreement with your trainer, and any other paperwork that seems appropriate. Then let your lawyer do the heavy lifting.

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