Gym memberships have risen in recent years as people become more health and beauty conscious and social media culture expands to all generations. But a fitness center, gym or health club offers more than just a fit physique; it offers a wealth of opportunity for injury.
The question is: who is responsible for your injury if you suffer it at a health club or fitness center. The answer is not always so clear. The fact is as a member of a health club, you are often asked to sign a waiver upon sign-up. When you do that, you typically sign away any liability on the part of the gym or its owner for any injuries you may suffer while on the premises. However, not all waivers are the same. And, likewise, not all fitness center injuries are the same.
Sometimes injuries sustained at a fitness center or health club can be traced back to something the member did in the course of their workout that proved to be more strenuous than it should have. Health club injuries can and often result from some of these common mistakes members make:
- Lifting too much weight
- Poor form
- Working out too aggressively
- Overexerting yourself
- Using equipment incorrectly
Courts expect patrons of health clubs and fitness centers to understand there is some risk when engaging in fitness training of any kind. Oftentimes, responsibility for these risks cannot be imparted to the fitness facility or its owner. Any injuries that result from your own recklessness or inconstancy with reasonable and safe behaviors are likely your responsibility.
Under Premises Liability law, gyms and health clubs may, however, be held responsible for injuries sustained as a result of unsafe conditions under certain conditions. There are often many instances in the course of a single day at a fitness center or health club where a hazard exists. In the locker room, for instance, puddles collect throughout the day. Puddles present a slip and fall hazard and can be a real risk. Oftentimes, free weights can be left improperly racked or laying on the gym floor. When a free weight has been left improperly racked or laid incompletely in place in the storage rack, it can slip and fall onto a member's foot, causing serious injury or harm. And we all understand that gym equipment does indeed have a shelf life. Universal machines and nautilus equipment break down with sustained use. When that happens that machine can likely cause injury to an unsuspecting member.
These examples represent real hazards, but because they are common to the health club setting, it is important to understand whether or not the facility's owners or management understood or should have understood that they existed when the injured party was harmed.
Under premises liability law, the owner of a facility had to have (or should have had) knowledge of the hazard that caused injury and failed to correct the hazard.
Also, if the hazard in question was obvious and one that the injured would likely have been aware yet they still chose to engage in activity with or around it, it is likely the injured party will bear the responsibility for their own injuries.
As referenced above, may gyms ask members and participants to sign waivers and disclaimers before they begin any activity at their facility. Those waivers may protect the owner from damages in your case. However, an experienced personal injury attorney like those of Panio Law Offices in Chicago can review your waiver and determine if your injury is indeed covered by it. If not, you may have a personal injury claim.
If you have any questions about premises liability and want to speak with a skilled personal injury attorney about your case, call the offices of Panio Law in Chicago at (312) 313-0305. We will work assiduously to recover the highest damages to which you are entitled, helping to forge a path to get back to living your life.