Most gyms and health clubs require their members to sign a contract that financially binds the member to the set payment for a period of time. In the contract is a Waiver of Liability that releases the gym from having any responsibility for an injury a gym member might suffer. Always read the waiver of liability to see what it is really protecting the gym from. If it is too broadly written or ambiguous, it probably will not be enforceable. What could a gym or fitness center be liable for, would include:
- Negligent hiring
- Defective machines
- Unsafe conditions
- Lack of emergency preparedness
A gym, like any other business, has a duty to protect its members from a dangerous or unsafe environment. The gym may not be liable if the member tried to lift 250 pounds and ruptures a disk. However, if a trainer was supposed to be spotting and failed to assist the weight lifter, that would expose the gym to liability. A gym or fitness center has a responsibility to hire trained and competent trainers. A gym breaches that responsibility if they fail to check trainers’ credentials and work experience.
A Gym’s Responsibilities
If the seat falls off a bike in spinning class, causing the rider to fall or be caught in the wheel, that would be considered a lack of maintenance. If a worn cable snaps, putting an eye out, that is probable due to lack of inspection. A waiver of liability does not allow the gym to be negligent or careless. The gym has a duty to care and is responsible for maintaining and inspecting their equipment. If a machine is not functioning properly or broken, they have a duty to warn the members not to use that machine until it is repaired.
Along with maintaining properly working machines, the gym has a responsibility to carry out proper pool, sauna, and spa maintenance. The water needs to be properly chlorinated and mold and bacteria need to be kept under control. These areas, along with changing rooms and restrooms, are breeding grounds for bacteria and fungus. Toxic mold can be deadly to a member that has a severe allergic reaction. Toxic mold can be found in warm, damp areas, but it can also be airborne, causing respiratory ailments.
Even though gym members tend to be fit and look healthy, they can suffer from the same medical conditions that any other person would be prone to have. Gym members have had heart attacks when using cardiovascular machines. Heat stroke and dehydration are also possible. While the gym did not cause these injuries, if they claim to have basic medical knowledge or equipment, like a defibrillator, they need to have properly trained staff to use it and keep it in proper working order, so that it is ready if it is needed.
If you have been injured at a gym or fitness center, you may have a claim for damages. Make an appointment with an experienced personal injury attorney at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP to discuss your case and any possible action that could be taken to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.