Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by working out at a gym can achieve opposite results if you suffer a severe injury. Exercise presents inherent risks which may increase if the gym fails to keep the fitness equipment in a safe, working condition. The gym may have hired unqualified personal trainers or allowed the facility to fall into dangerous disrepair. If you were injured as a result of working out or because of negligent conduct by a fitness center or its employees, you may suffer substantial pain and suffering as well as lost income.
You need an experienced gym injury lawyer to help you understand if you have a valid claim against a fitness center. The Rice, Murtha & Psoras have years of personal injury experience and will help you determine if you have a claim for a gym-related injury. Call (410) 431-0911 to schedule a free consultation with a Baltimore fitness center and gym injury lawyer at the Rice, Murtha & Psoras.
Does Signing a Waiver Limit the Ability to Sue a Gym in Baltimore?
When you join a gym, you sign a contract with that fitness center. The contract will usually contain a liability waiver that could limit your ability to sue if you are seriously injured. Liability waivers, while enforceable in Maryland, can be challenged.
You can challenge a liability waiver if the language of the waiver is ambiguous. The waiver must specifically release the fitness center from liability for its own negligent conduct, and you can challenge a liability waiver if the language of the waiver is too broad. The fitness center also cannot release itself from liability if the injury is the direct result of willful, wanton, or reckless conduct.
Causes and Types of Injuries at a Gym
Working out at a gym can result in many common injuries. These include strained muscles, torn muscles, sprained ankles, dislocated joints, broken bones, lacerations, severe bruising, or heart problems. While sometimes a person working out at the gym is responsible for the injuries they suffer, the injuries could also be the result of the fitness center’s negligent conduct.
Wet floors can often cause unsafe footing. Free weights can also pose a dangerous hazard if they are stacked improperly. Additionally, exercise equipment may be poorly maintained, resulting in dangerous conditions. The facility and the surrounding areas, such as parking lots and sidewalks, could also be in disrepair, presenting potential risks of injury. These conditions and more can cause serious injuries with substantial pain and suffering.
In addition to any possible negligent conduct on behalf of the gym, the exercise equipment itself could be defective or lacking proper warnings. Defective exercise equipment could give rise to a strict liability claim against the manufacturer. If the injury was a direct result of the equipment’s defect, the manufacturer may be liable. You may be able to hold the manufacturer liable whether the gym was aware of the condition or not as strict liability does not require negligence on the part of anyone but the manufacturer.
Improper instruction on the use of an exercise machine or overexertion can also lead to serious injuries. A personal trainer who provides improper instruction on the use of gym equipment or on an exercise may be liable. A waiver might not protect them from responsibility if they are not a direct employee of the gym.
If the injury was the direct result of negligent or intentional conduct by another gym member rather than the gym or a trainer, you may have a claim against that individual.
Suing for Gym Related Injuries and Contributory Negligence in Baltimore
The State of Maryland is one of five states that follows the legal doctrine of “contributory negligence” in personal injury cases. The majority of states employ the doctrine of “comparative negligence,” which awards a percentage of the blame to all parties involved. For example, in a car accident where the victim was speeding and the defendant ran a stop sign, a jury might assign 15% of the blame to the speeding victim and 85% to the defendant driver who ran the stop sign. In this situation, any damages that the injured victim receives would be reduced by 15% to account for their own fault.
Under the contributory negligence doctrine that Maryland uses, any percentage of blame assigned to the victim negates the defendant’s liability. In the example above, the victim’s speeding would release the driver who ran the stop sign from all liability because the victim contributed to their own accident. In a gym injury case, our lawyers can help fight against claims that you contributed to your own injuries by focusing the case on the gym’s negligence, the equipment manufacturer’s strict liability, or the errors a personal trainer made in instructing you on how to work out.
Call Our Baltimore Gym and Fitness Center Injury Lawyers for a Free Legal Consultation
Working out or using a poorly maintained fitness center can cause substantial pain and suffering and potential lost income. Successfully suing a gym for injuries requires an understanding of the seriousness and the effects of the injury, the enforceability of liability waivers, and the extent of the negligent conduct. The experienced Baltimore fitness center and gym injury attorneys at the Rice, Murtha & Psoras will work to see that you are justly compensated for your pain and suffering. Call us at (410) 431-0911 to set up a free consultation.