A part of many people’s morning routine is going to a gym or fitness center to engage in everything from yoga or CrossFit to lifting simple free weights. Multiple injuries can occur from these activities ranging from pulled muscles and broken bones to cuts and gashes from equipment. Injuries may also be a direct result of conditions at the facility such as slipping and falling due to a wet floor in the locker room. Is the fitness center or gym liable for these injuries? Can you sue for the pain and suffering you are experiencing? What rights do you have, and can you be compensated for your pain and suffering?
The answer, unfortunately, is not an easy or straight forward one. The Law Offices of Randolph Rice bring years of personal injury experience to our clients’ cases and will help you determine if you have been negligently injured at a gym. Call (410) 431-0911 to schedule a free consultation with a Maryland fitness center and gym injury lawyer.
Common Injuries at the Gym
Exercise puts strain on your body and your muscles that may result in various types of injuries from pulled muscles, sprained ankles, tendonitis, shoulder injuries, or dislocated joints. However, the fitness center may have many more dangerous conditions that result from negligent conduct. Some examples of negligence in a gym include the following:
- A locker room floor may not have been properly cleaned leaving the floor wet and slippery.
- An exercise machine may not have been properly maintained resulting in a malfunction that caused injuries.
- Classes may be overcrowded or use equipment improperly creating dangerous and unsafe conditions.
These conditions can result in serious injury with substantial pain and suffering. An attorney from the Law Offices of Randolph Rice will help you determine if the gym or its employees caused your injury through negligence and whether you have an actionable claim against them.
Suing a Gym in Maryland After Signing a Waiver
When determining if you have an injury claim, the first thing to consider is the membership agreement or any documents you signed prior to joining the gym. Few people read the documents provided to them, however, these documents could contain liability waivers specifically worded to protect the fitness center if anyone is injured. By signing these forms, you may have hampered or negated your right to sue.
Waivers in the State of Maryland are generally enforceable with some notable exceptions.
One exception is if the language is ambiguous. The waiver must specifically release the gym from responsibility for its own negligence. If the language is vague, the waiver may be unenforceable. For example, a waiver may simply protect the fitness center from liability “from all injuries suffered at the facility”. This language could be potentially too broad and ambiguous as to what the parties are agreeing to.
Another exception is if the injury was the result of willful, wanton, and reckless negligent conduct. A waiver that specifically attempts to block liability when the conduct is intentional and reckless may not be enforceable. For example, a gym might not be able to have you waive the right to sue if one of their employees punches you.
The lawyers at the Law Office of Randolph Rice will review your agreement and determine the best course of action in challenging any waiver clause.
Whom to Sue After Gym and Workout Injuries
While the waiver may protect the gym itself, there may be other potential individuals or companies that may be liable. If the injury was directly caused by defective equipment there may be a strict liability claim against the manufacturer of the equipment. In Maryland the elements that give rise to a strict liability claim are as follows:
- The equipment was in a defective condition,
- The equipment was unreasonably dangerous,
- The defect in the equipment caused the injury, and
- The equipment was expected to arrive and did arrive without substantial change in its condition.
This claim removes negligence or reckless negligence from any required elements of proof.
A personal trainer who was hired by the gym or was just using the facility may have failed to provide proper guidance or misrepresented his or her credentials. If the trainer acted or provided instructions in such a manner that resulted in a client’s injury, the trainer may be liable. If the trainer was not an employee of the gym, any waivers of liability may not include their conduct.
There may be a third party contracted to maintain or repair the equipment who was negligent in their responsibilities resulting in equipment that was unsafe or dangerous to operate. The waiver of liability would have to specifically extend to such parties to protect them.
Alternatively, the injury may have been the result of another gym member’s reckless or negligent conduct, in which case a claim may be made directly against the gym member.
Call Our Maryland Gym and Fitness Center Injury Lawyers for a Free Legal Consultation
Any injury sustained while working out at a gym may result in serious pain and suffering as well as a substantial loss of wages. Determining liability is not easy and each case and injury will present a very different set of facts. Gyms and fitness centers work to distance themselves from liability, but that does not mean they are immune from liability. It also does not preclude other parties from being liable for the injuries. The experienced Maryland fitness center and gym injury attorneys at the Law Office of Randolph Rice will work tirelessly to see that you are compensated for your pain and suffering. Call (410) 431-0911 to set up a free consultation.