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gym accidentGym facilities, health studios, and fitness centers offer a safe and comfortable environment for many people to work out and train. Many individuals in  Southern California go to a gym several times a week, or even daily. While most of these experiences are positive, injuries at gyms are unfortunately common. For some people, accidents at a gym can cause long-lasting or permanently disabling injuries like spinal cord injuries. Injuries at gyms may be caused by a number of parties: 

  • Personal trainers 
  • Gym owners 
  • Equipment manufacturers
  • Third-party maintenance companies 
  • Other gym members. 

Not every injury that occurs at a gym is grounds for a personal injury claim. If you were not using equipment properly, or you disregard warning placards, you may be responsible for your own injuries. For example, if you wore  inappropriate footwear to the gym (like flip-flops) and then dropped a 20 pound weight on your bare toe, you will not have a claim because your own careless behavior caused your injury. 

However, if you are injured in a gym and your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Gym injury claims can fall under premises liability or product liability, depending on the nature of the accident. Damages available for a personal injury claim can include medical care expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. A gym injury lawsuit may go to trial, but most are settled outside of court. 

Can You Still File a Lawsuit If You Signed a Waiver? 

When you joined a gym, you were likely presented with a liability waiver. This is usually part of the sign-up paperwork, along with a financial contract or gym membership agreement. The liability waiver typically acknowledges risks of injury and is intended to prevent you from suing the gym and/or parent companies if you are hurt on the premises. 

You may think that because you signed a waiver that you cannot sue a gym after an injury. This is not necessarily the case. Liability waivers are fairly normal – but not all boilerplate language is the same. An overly broad, sweeping “Total Waiver of Liability” will likely not be enforceable in court. Additionally, liability waivers can not protect a gym from gross negligence or intentional acts of their employees. Even if you signed a waiver, if a gym owner is aware that equipment is defective and does nothing to fix it, they may be liable. 

What Happens If You Get Injured In A Gym?

If you are injured at a gym, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Do not delay going to a hospital or urgent care, and do not neglect recommended treatment, such as seeing a specialist or following up with your primary doctor. Your medical treatment is an important part of your personal injury claim. 

Once you have obtained medical care, you should talk to an experienced California personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney who specializes in premises liability claims can investigate all circumstances surrounding your gym accident, and determine if you may have a claim.  

Which Gym Equipment Causes The Most Injuries?

One of the most popular pieces of exercise equipment – and most dangerous – is the treadmill. Because treadmills are a moving surface – essentially a moving conveyor bent –  they can cause injury, particularly from falls. They can also injure children and pets. Treadmills need regular maintenance including lubrication and alignment and should be placed properly, not in a corner. Gyms should place treadmills with adequate clearance behind a treadmill – ASTM International requires six feet of clearance. When a treadmill is not properly placed, maintained or secured, people using it may be injured. 

 Treadmills are used by people of all fitness levels, from Olympic-level athletes to people learning to walk again after an injury or surgery. Treadmills allow people to run or walk in place, and provide many advantages: 

  • Walkers or runners can set a consistent pace 
  • Exercise indoors and avoid nighttime visibility conditions or poor weather 
  • Customizable inclines to exercise “uphill” 
  • Monitor and track process. 

One of the biggest risks of injuries on a treadmill comes from falling. You have likely seen a video or two on the internet of people falling off treadmills. While these may look amusing, the reality is falls from treadmills can cause very serious injuries. Common injuries are friction burns and broken bones. Falls can also cause people to strike their head which can lead to concussion or brain damage. 

What To Do If You Are Injured in a Gym in California 

Gym injuries may result from defective gym equipment, hazards and dangerous conditions on the property, or negligence of personal trainers or gym staff. Proving liability and successfully recovering money in a claim can be challenging, and the gym may have significant resources to defend claims. 

At the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates, we represent people injured in Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego or San Bernardino. If you’d like to speak with a lawyer about your legal rights in a gym injury case, contact us today. Your consultation is free and we are only paid if we recover money for you.