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.