Injured at the Gym—Can I Sue?
Most people join the gym to improve their health and fitness. Yet, every year, there are hundreds of thousands of exercise and exercise equipment-related injuries, according to the National Safety Council.
How does this happen?
Often, gym-goers are injured because they are using unfamiliar equipment, or because their bodies aren’t used to performing the exercises. Other times, however, people are injured thanks to the negligence of the gym. For example, a poorly maintained piece of equipment can malfunction, or a water spill on the floor of the gym bathroom might be left un-mopped.
If you are injured at the gym, what are your rights? When should you call an attorney? Find out what you need to know about this area of personal injury law.
When You Can Sue the Gym
If you’ve been injured at the gym, you might be wondering if—and whether—you should sue. To answer that question fully, there are a couple of things you’ll need to consider, including the contract you signed (if any), Ohio law, and the circumstances of your case.
When you joined a gym, you most likely signed a contract. In gym contracts, there is typically a “liability waiver.” The liability waiver serves to protect the gym from financial liability if you are injured.
However, the gym’s contract doesn’t typically prevent you from suing if the gym’s negligence caused your injury. In fact, gym liability waivers exist to protect the gym from frivolous lawsuits or from lawsuits brought by gym-goes who caused their own injuries.
For example, the gym would typically not be responsible in the following scenarios:
- You used a piece of exercise equipment in an unsafe manner, thereby causing injury.
- Your injury happened because you exercised too hard or for too long.
- You lifted heavier weights than you’re used to, causing injury.
In contrast, here are a few examples of gym negligence:
- The gym failed to maintain its equipment properly, resulting in a malfunction that caused injury.
- The gym failed to warn gym members that a piece of equipment was faulty or out of order (say, by posting a sign on the equipment), causing injury.
- Personal trainers employed by the gym were negligent in their services—say, by recommending exercises that were not appropriate or by ignoring complaints of pain and injury from the gym-goer receiving personal training.
- The gym failed to train its employees in the safe operation of the exercise machines, so the employees gave unsafe instructions to gym members.
- The gym failed to maintain its facilities—say by not cleaning up spills or correcting trip hazards—thereby causing injuries.
Negligence & Ohio Law
If your injuries were caused by the gym’s negligence, you may be able to sue.
However, it’s important to note that Ohio has what’s known as a “contributory fault” law. If you were more than 50% at fault for your injury, you aren’t allowed to sue or collect damages. This means that your gym injury has to be mostly the fault of the gym—not you.
That said, if you’re not sure who is really at fault, you may want to consult an attorney. You might be “kicking yourself,” so to speak—thinking you acted foolishly, or that somehow you should have seen the injury coming. In reality, however, the gym might truly be at fault. In addition, it’s important to remember that if the gym is at least 51% at fault, you may be able to collect compensation.
An attorney skilled in the field of personal injury law will be able to tell you more after looking at your case.
When to Call an Attorney
You might have the option to sue your gym, but should you?
That depends on the specifics of your case, of course. Generally, though, it is a good idea to at least speak to a personal injury lawyer if your injuries are serious. (Remember that, even if you signed a liability waiver, it may still be possible to sue your gym.)
Personal injuries can be expensive. When you consider the wages you lose from time off work, the medical costs from visiting the doctor, and the pain and suffering you experience while you recover, it all adds up.
If you’ve been seriously injured at the gym, you can hold them financially responsible. What’s more, you can help make sure that others aren’t injured as you were.
Call Casper & Casper Today
At Casper & Casper, we’re here to answer your questions, help you understand your options, and determine your next steps. If you choose to sue, our experienced personal injury lawyers will fight for you every step of the way. We’ll do everything in our power to get you the compensation you need and deserve.
Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. We have offices in Cincinnati, Dayton, Hamilton, and Middletown for your convenience.