Fitness centers may be hubs for health, but that doesn’t make them safe. Gym accidents cause thousands of serious injuries every year. While some result in minor damages, others can cause catastrophic injuries that lead to life-long health problems and exorbitant medical costs.
Although every gym requires new members to sign a liability document to deter fault in the case of an injury, that doesn’t mean they are off the hook when an accident occurs. More often than not, gym accidents are caused by negligent practices and malfunctioning equipment.
Proving a third party is at fault in these cases can be difficult, especially when liability waivers are substantial. By consulting with a gym accident attorney early and knowing the crucial steps to file a successful claim, you can recover the maximum damages you deserve to help get you back on your feet after an injury.
Types of Gym Accidents
Despite popular belief, gym accidents are not only caused by overexertion and excitement. Several risk factors lead to gym injuries every day, none of which involve a participant’s activity or error. These factors include:
- Slippery and unkempt surfaces;
- Defective equipment;
- Old and damaged equipment;
- Poor training instruction;
- Unstable equipment;
- Improper signage and warnings; and
- Negligence and dangerous actions by other members.
Gym injuries range in severity, but accidents resulting from negligence are often the most severe. These accidents can involve thousands of pounds of displaced weight and forced mechanisms, leading to falls, crushing injuries, stuck-between injuries, and trauma by force. Common injuries we have seen diagnosed due to gym accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Spinal cord damages;
- Full or partial amputations;
- Soft tissue damage;
- Nerve damage;
- Severe fractures; and
Gym Waivers and Liability Forms
All businesses must legally protect themselves from possible injuries to guests on their premises, especially when the facility involves dangerous elements. Gyms provide equipment and heavy free weights for their members, which can cause severe injuries when misused. Because of this, fitness facilities generally include a waiver in the new member paperwork that requires people to waive their right to a lawsuit in the case of an injury while working out.
There are several types of liability waivers the gyms may require for new members:
- Total Liability Waiver– a blanket agreement that waives a member’s right to hold the gym responsible for all injuries that occur on the property.
- Intentional Acts Waiver- a disclaimer that addresses injuries that are caused by intentional acts committed by staff members, managers, or the owner of a gym.
- Negligence Waiver- an agreement to waive a member’s rights to hold the gym accountable for injuries caused by the negligence of the facility or its staff.
In addition to liability waivers, gyms will denounce an accident claim by claiming Assumption of Risk. This legal defense is based on the idea that gym members voluntarily put themselves at risk when they sign up at the facility and control their own workouts. The two types of Assumption of Risk defenses include:
- Express– when a gym representative claims the member was told via a written and signed agreement of the possible risks.
- Implied– when a gym representative claims the member knew the risk of activity due to safety postings on the machine or in the area but continued.
While legal documents can be intimidating for members, these waivers are not set in stone. Several holes in gym waivers can make them difficult to hold up in court, especially when the fault is clearly on the gym, gym manufacturer, another member, or an additional third party involved.
Steps To Take After a Gym Injury
Directly after a gym accident, report the injury to the staff at the facility. Do not leave the building and call later. Find a manager to document the incident.
After reporting your injury, these are the crucial steps to take next that can make or break a case:
- Seek medical care for your injuries immediately, no matter how minor;
- Take pictures or videos of the accident, machine, or other equipment involved;
- Secure all medical records to prove the severity of injuries;
- Follow up with all suggested treatments and appointments;
- Secure witness statements when possible; and
- Consult early with a gym accident attorney to explore your rights.
Contacting an experienced gym accident attorney early on will give you the best chance of securing maximum compensation for your injuries. These attorneys possess the resources necessary to investigate your case from all angles. They know the tricks that fitness facilities try to use to get out of paying a member’s claim, and they will build a comprehensive case to cover all damages that can arise from an accident.
New York City Gym Accident Attorneys
Our personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Siler & Ingber have over 30 years of experience representing accident victims in New York City. We protect your rights by maximizing recovery and securing the financial support that our clients need to succeed on their road to recovery. Our winning attorneys know how to navigate through the claim process, using our experience as insurance defense attorneys. We are not afraid to fight and are fully prepared to take your case to trial to get a justified verdict over settling for less.
If you or a loved one has been injured at a gym or fitness facility, our team at Siler & Ingber is here to help. With a 98% success rate, we have the experience and the know-how to help our clients achieve a favorable outcome. Contact us today at 1-877-529-4343, or schedule an appointment online at any time. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.