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Gyms are great places to work on your strength and health. However, they can also be quite dangerous. If faulty equipment causes an injury, NY product liability lawyers might recommend taking legal action against the manufacturers. However, even well-made equipment can malfunction if negligent gym owners do not properly maintain it, potentially causing injury. So can you sue a gym if you get injured? It depends.
What Are the Common Causes of Gym Accidents?
The following six causes are among the most common reasons why gym injuries occur:
- Faulty Equipment: Manufacturing defects and defective repairs are two common causes of faulty equipment.
- Faulty Installation: Improperly installed weight stations and equipment can result in serious injuries or death.
- Negligent or Inexperienced Trainers: Inexperienced trainers can do more harm than good, and negligent trainers can turn a safe environment into a danger zone.
- Negligent Staff: Gym staff members have a duty to perform their jobs safely and keep the gym reasonably safe for members.
- Negligent Members: Other members may be responsible for gym injuries due to improper use of equipment or some other negligent actions.
- User Mistakes or Negligence: Users are sometimes partially responsible for their injuries due to negligence.
When Gyms Are Liable for Your Injuries
You can seek to hold a gym liable for your injuries in a personal injury lawsuit or claim if the gym's negligence caused your injuries. Types of negligence that a gym may be responsible for include:
- Failure to repair weight and exercise equipment known to be broken
- Failure to require regular maintenance on gym equipment
- Failure to heed warnings from members or staff regarding faulty gym equipment
- Failure to maintain the gym in a safe condition, such as failing to clean slick surfaces
Gyms may also be held liable for the negligent actions of their employees, such as negligent trainers and instructors.
Who Can You Sue for Faulty Gym Equipment?
Faulty gym equipment can lead to serious injuries. If you have experienced an injury due to defective gym equipment, you can potentially seek compensation from various parties, depending on the circumstances of your accident.
- The Gym: When you work out in a gym, you have the right to expect your gym owner to provide safe equipment. If they fail to do so, it opens them to liability in a personal injury case.
- Manufacturers: If you suffer a serious injury from faulty equipment, the equipment manufacturer or the designer may be to blame and can be held liable for providing defective products that cause injury.
- Distributors: A distributor that sells defective equipment can potentially face liability for injuries that occur from the use of their unreasonably dangerous products.
- Equipment Repair Shop: Gym owners rely on repair persons to fix and maintain broken or worn equipment. If a repair person does a poor job, the equipment could present a significant risk of injury to those who use it, in which case the repair person or shop would be liable.
No matter who is to blame for your gym equipment injuries, you can expect your personal injury attorney to identify them and demand the appropriate compensation for your losses.
Can You Sue a Personal Trainer for Injury?
If your personal trainer engaged in negligent or reckless behavior, you can pursue damages against them if you are injured. An experienced personal injury attorney would examine the facts of your case and pay particularly close attention to the actions of the personal trainer to determine whether they went too far, pushed too hard, or engaged in some action they should not have.
For example, a personal trainer who is aware of a member's existing injury could potentially face liability for actions that exacerbate that injury.
Can You Still Sue a Gym for Your Injury in Case of Using Gym Equipment Wrong?
Even if you were injured while using gym equipment improperly, you can still potentially sue a gym if they played a role in your injuries. In New York, you can be partially responsible for your injuries and still pursue compensation from another party if they, for example, fail to maintain their equipment.
When it comes time to calculate the compensation you will receive, your fault percentage will be factored into the calculation and subtracted from your award. So if you are deemed to bear 10% of the fault for a gym accident that caused you $25,000 in compensable losses, you will be entitled to pursue $25,000 minus $2,500 (10% deduction for 10% fault), which is $22,500.
Common Types of Gym Accidents and Injuries
Gym injuries can lead to significant debilitation and pain. Immediate medical care is usually necessary to properly treat them, and victims often face hefty medical bills.
Some of the more common types of gym and fitness center injuries include:
- Muscle cramps
- Broken bones and bruises
- Muscle strains
- Tendon and ligament strains
Common circumstances that lead to these injuries include:
- Slips and falls
- Faulty equipment
- Lacerations from faulty exercise equipment
If you have been injured in a gym, seek medical treatment right away and contact a personal injury lawyer for help pursuing compensation.
Damages Available in a Fitness Center Injury Lawsuit
The term damages refers to the types of compensation you can pursue for your injuries. Generally speaking, you can seek economic and non-economic damages in personal injury cases.
Economic damages include:
- Medical bills
- Hospital bills
- Medication costs
- Income loss
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
You may also be entitled to punitive damages in cases of particularly egregious conduct.
Can I Still Sue If I Signed a Gym Waiver?
Liability waivers are common requirements for gym memberships. Many gym owners believe that these waivers abscond them from all legal responsibility. However, according to New York's General Obligations Law, a liability waiver is not enforceable in certain situations, such as when public pools, gymnasiums, and public recreational facilities are the location of the injury in question. Additionally, any proposed waiver would be considered unenforceable if someone pays to use a facility.
Remember that gyms and fitness centers come up with clever arguments as to why their waivers should be valid. For example, a gym may argue that the facility is used for educational purposes and not recreational, which would not invalidate the waiver.
For this reason, it is important to always hire an experienced personal injury attorney to help you get the justice you deserve. Without one, you may be denied some or all of the compensation you're owed.
How to Sue a Gym for Faulty Equipment
If you have been injured in a gym due to faulty equipment, there are certain steps you should take to help ensure that you get properly compensated for your losses. In every case, enlisting the services of an attorney is crucial for the success of your claim.
1. Report the Injury
After an injury at a gym or fitness center, it is important that you report the accident to the manager or owner. Doing so gets the accident and injuries on the record and establishes a location and date of their occurrence. The gym or fitness center will then fill out an incident report.
2. Get Prompt Medical Treatment
Gym injury victims should seek immediate medical treatment to address their injuries. This will prevent them from becoming exacerbated and will also serve as an official record of their occurrence and cause. Without medical treatment, the source and severity of your injuries can come into question.
3. Collect Medical Records
After getting treatment for your injuries, make sure to get copies of all of your medical records and reports. They will be useful in demonstrating your injuries. You will also need copies of your medical bills and expenses, which you can seek to recuperate in your claim for compensation.
4. Document Lost Wages
Missing out on work can cause significant financial upheaval in an injured victim's life. Fortunately, lost income is compensable in a compensation claim. So you will want to gather evidence showing how much work you have missed due to your injury, as well as information about your wage or salary.
5. Take Photographs
Evidence is the backbone of all personal injury claims. Photos make for great evidence, especially when taken at the time of the injury. So if possible, try to snap photos of the injury scene from various angles, including the faulty equipment and your injuries.
6. Talk to Witnesses
Speak to witnesses about the accident and take preliminary statements from them. Additionally, get their full contact information, including their full names, email addresses, phone numbers, and addresses, if possible. Later, these witnesses may prove vital to your compensation claim.
7. Keep a Journal
After your injury, begin keeping a journal that details how the injury has negatively affected your life. Write about your medical treatment, the pain you suffer, and how the injury has prevented you from engaging in life as you had before the accident.
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney to Sue a Gym for Negligence?
If you wish to recover maximum compensation for your injuries, you must hire an attorney . In general, injury victims who seek compensation without the aid of an attorney typically receive far less compensation than those with representation.
One reason why represented victims get more money is that insurance companies and their lawyers employ various tactics to ensure they pay less or nothing at all. Victims typically do not have the experience or knowledge to take on these professionals and wind up losing out on much-needed compensation.
But this does not happen when a victim has a seasoned attorney representing them. Experienced personal injury lawyers know how to deal with stingy insurance companies and understand the true value of injury claims.
Experienced attorneys also know how to confidently navigate every stage of the claim process, which gives injury victims the time and space to deal with their losses and recuperate. When you work with an experienced NY personal injury lawyer, you don't have to worry about identifying the at-fault parties, calculating your damages, or complying with the legal rules for compensation claims.
Time Limits for Filing a Gym Injury Lawsuit in New York
In New York, you have three years from the date of your accident to take legal action. Waiting longer than three years will likely result in a dismissal of your case unless you are eligible for an exception. But all hope is not lost — if your injury occurred more than three years prior, contact an attorney to learn whether you qualify for an exception.
Let Our Product Liability Attorneys Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve
No one expects to leave a gym with an injury, but it can happen to anyone. New York personal injury lawyers regularly represent individuals injured at gyms and fitness centers.
At the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm, we fight hard for maximum compensation for our clients and can help you get justice. Contact us online or by phone at (212) 869-3500 for a free consultation and to learn about your options.