Gym Liability Explained

Gyms are hotbeds for personal injury accidents. Machines, heavy equipment, lots of moving parts, incompetent staff members, sweat/water on the floor, bacteria-covered mats, and members pushing themselves to their physical limits all combine to make the gym a likely scene for a personal injury or illness. Yet not every gym injury is grounds for a claim against the establishment. Learn when you may and may not be able to file a claim against a gym’s insurance company.

Gym Liability Waivers

Almost every gym requires its members to fill out and sign some kind of liability waiver before entering the premises and using gym equipment. Most gym owners are aware of the high potential for personal injuries, and use these waivers as a way to stem the tide of the rising number of insurance claims and lawsuits. The waiver will most likely state something along the lines of, “I understand that (Gym Name) is not liable for any accidents or injuries that occur on the premises.” By signing this waiver, you enter into a legally binding contract with the gym or exercise studio that prevents you from filing a lawsuit.

Most gym liability waivers are ironclad, with lots of legal language to prevent any loopholes or misunderstandings. However, there are ways to get around the stipulations of a waiver if the circumstances are right. For example, if the waiver’s language is vague and ambiguous, with room for misinterpretation, the judge may rule its provisions inadmissible. More likely, the contract will not cover negligence-related injuries. Despite legal language in the contract prohibiting a lawsuit, the law in Georgia does not permit a gym to avoid liability in the event the gym’s negligence caused an injury.

Negligence-Based Gym Injury Claims

Personal injury law centers on the theory of negligence. An establishment that invites visitors with expressed or implied invitations must maintain a reasonably safe premises for its invitees. The rules of premises liability law mandate that a gym or other property with invited guests must routinely check for hazards and make repairs. If a gym owner knew about, or should have known about, a hazardous condition and failed to make repairs, an injured person may be able to file a claim on the grounds of negligence regardless of a liability waiver.

An injury resulting from malfunctioning equipment, unsanitary conditions, an incompetent personal trainer, delayed emergency assistance, or another unreasonably hazardous condition is likely grounds for a claim against the gym’s insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit. Proving negligence against a gym can be difficult, as the injured party has to get around the language of the contract he or she signed. However, there is often evidence of the gym’s negligence regarding the accident, such as:

  • Other gym members previously notified management of the dangerous condition
  • Witnesses saw that a faulty or broken piece of equipment caused the injury
  • The gym is guilty of improper staff hiring, training, or retention practices
  • The gym’s janitorial staff is negligent in keeping the premises clean and sanitary
  • The gym owner failed to perform routine maintenance inspections

With an experienced Savannah personal injury attorney, it may be possible to prove a gym or property owner’s negligence for your personal injury. The rules of premises liability are clear on what does and does not constitute negligence – regardless of an establishment’s liability waiver. If property owner or manager carelessness, recklessness, or breach of duty caused or led to your gym injury, contact an attorney as soon as possible. Your first phone call should be to your local hospital or doctor’s office to treat your injuries. Your second call should be to an experienced personal injury attorney to learn your rights as a gym member or visitor.