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I Fell at the Gym, Can I Sue?

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on May 11, 2015 11:11 AM

We go to the gym to stay healthy, even visiting the hotel gym while on vacation. And we often overlook the health risks of exercising in a gym (usually because we're glued to the TV while on a StairMaster).

In a closed environment littered with exercise equipment, towels, sweat, and other workout aficionados, it's no wonder accidents happen at the gym. But if you're injured in a fall while exercising, could the gym be legally responsible? Can you sue?

Waive(r) Goodbye to Your Claim?

Many gyms will try to avoid responsibility for member injuries through liability waivers. While these waivers may say that you can't sue the gym if you get hurt while working out, some of these agreements have been found unenforceable by courts:

  • Total Waiver of Liability. These are designed for the gym to be free of all liability for any injury that occurs on the premises. However, these expansive types of agreements can be held as overly broad and thus unenforceable in court.
  • Waiver for Intentional Acts. Courts have also found attempts to avoid legal claims for intentional or reckless conduct that injures someone unconscionable or against public policy.
  • Waiver for Negligence. With the exceptions noted below, courts will generally enforce waivers for injuries caused by the gym or its employees' own negligence.

So even if you've signed a liability waiver for your gym, you may still be able to sue if the injury is not your fault.

Promise of Safe Premises

Property owners can be held liable for injuries that occur on their property. This is known as premises liability. As business owners, gyms must take reasonable steps to assure the safety of the premises, including regular inspections of the facility for defects and potential dangers.

If the gym owner or staff should have known about a potential injury risk and failed to take action, you may have a valid premises liability claim. If you've been injured at the gym, you may want to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney near you.

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