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I Fell at the Gym. Who Is Liable?

Posted in Slip and Fall on September 3, 2019

Going to the gym should not mean returning home with a personal injury. If you slip and/or trip and fall, however, you could suffer injuries ranging from muscle sprains to broken bones. A fall at the gym could point to the gym corporation or private owner’s liability in certain situations. Your attorney would have to prove the gym’s negligence to establish liability, which can be difficult due to liability waivers. You could win a compensation award, however, depending on the circumstances of your accident.

Liability Waivers at the Gym

A liability waiver protects the gym from liability for most gym member injuries. If you pull a muscle while working out, for example, the gym will not be liable. A waiver cannot, however, protect a gym from all liability. A waiver that attempts to do so will be unenforceable in court. Total liability waivers or waivers for intentional acts are generally invalid.

A gym cannot escape financial responsibility for an injury it causes through some act of negligence, such as ignoring a spill or letting gym mats fall into disrepair. If a hazard on the property caused your fall accident, the gym could be liable. You may need a lawyer’s assistance to prove that a gym is still accountable for your accident despite you signing a liability waiver.

How Do Gym Falls Happen?

Falls at the gym can cause serious personal injuries that take you out of work, cause temporary disabilities and put you through significant pain and suffering. Common fall injuries include broken hips, fractured wrists, muscle sprains and strains, elbow injuries, head injuries and traumatic brain injuries such as concussions. Even if you are being safe and prudent at the gym, an unexpected obstacle or defect could cause a fall. Many different hazards at the gym could cause a fall.

  • Gym equipment on the floor
  • Broken or damaged equipment collapsing
  • Torn or damaged gym mats
  • Electric cords in walkways
  • Uneven floors
  • Slippery surfaces
  • Staircase/elevator accidents

If you suffer a fall injury at the gym, report the incident to a supervisor or gym manager right away. Get the names and contact information of other gym members who witnessed the fall. Take photographs of the object, obstacle or floor defect that caused your fall. Get medical care immediately and follow your doctor’s recommended treatment plan. Then, call a lawyer to discuss a potential premises liability claim.

Property Owner Duties of Care

The plaintiff’s burden of proof in a personal injury or premises liability claim centers on the duty of care. You or your attorney must establish that the gym owed you a duty of care, breached this duty through an act of negligence or recklessness, and caused your fall. The breach of duty, or negligence, is often the most difficult element to prove. Whether the gym was negligent will depend on if it breached the duty to exercise reasonable care. Reasonable care as a gym involves three main tasks.

  1. Inspecting the gym regularly for obstacles or defects
  2. Resolving known gym defects, including fall hazards
  3. Warning members of potential risks

If the gym failed to fulfill the accepted standards of care in the industry in any of these three tasks, and the result caused your fall, the gym could be liable for your damages. Even if you signed a liability waiver when you joined the gym, you could potentially bring a premises liability lawsuit based on negligence.

Proving Your Case

Holding a gym liable for your fall injury can be difficult. With help from a lawyer, however, you can gather the evidence you need and navigate around a liability waiver. If the gym or one of its employees was negligent and this led to your fall accident, you could have grounds for a claim. A successful case with help from a lawyer could lead to payment for your economic and noneconomic damages.

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