There’s a reason new gyms memberships start with paperwork. With dangerous equipment as far as the eye can see, the gym’s first responsibility is protecting itself against liability. Nestled in the fine print among payment, rights, and facilities are special clauses about the gym’s legal protections. Considering all these stipulations, is it even possible to sue for an injury at the gym?
Check the Gym’s Paperwork
The gym’s waiver outlines specifics for patrons regarding heavy equipment, terms of use, and liabilities. Many gyms introduce new members to total liability waivers. If this is the case, no matter how your injury occurred, the gym is likely free from all accountability.
Sometimes, a court will find these catch-all waivers too generalized to effectively cover all bases. The top two reasons a court will side with you is due to ambiguous wording in the document or extreme staff negligence.
If your injury occurred while breaking a rule of the gym, then you have no case. A good example would be an injury that occurred while you are wearing open-toed shoes, a violation at most gyms, then dropping a dumbbell on your foot.
Gym negligence is your best shot at filing a successful lawsuit. If the gym needed to change their practices, was aware of a correctable behavior but did nothing or never issued a forthcoming warning, the gym might be liable.
For instance, imagine if “Joe” signed up for a personal trainer provided by the gym. If Joe is injured during a set and requires medical attention due to bad form, and the trainer failed to correct his form, then Joe might have a case against the gym’s trainer.
Perhaps the gym is subpar in terms of safety. If a gym leaves empty boxes on the floor or fails to clean up clutter, the staff is liable for failing to keep the space safe. Or maybe you slip in the locker room due to a puddle left by a leaking showerhead. If the owner was aware of the leaking showerhead and made no move to correct the issue, your case could be pretty cut and dry. A judge may still rule in your favor if they find an inspection would have prevented your fall.
The Insurance Company
Can you win a settlement with the club’s insurance company? The answer: not likely. The gym’s insurance will likely have dealt with dozens of cases just like yours. They specialize in rejecting injury claims filed by the gym’s members.
What’s more, getting to the gym’s insurance company is going to be difficult. The employees will be unable to provide assistance and very few staff members will be willing to provide the insurance company’s information.
Your Options
Find a personal injury lawyer with experience fighting cases in your area. In Ohio, your suit depends what court the claim is filed in. Sometimes, the damages are small enough to fight in small claims court. When this happens, your chances are typically smaller.
The gym’s legal team will send the signed waiver to a request for summary judgment, which often gets the case thrown out early. Larger injury suits sometimes find success in higher courts.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer will help you determine if you have a case and the proper steps for moving forward. To consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in Columbus, contact Erney Law.