Injuries can and do occur in gyms, and different types of activity come with varying levels of risk. During the onboarding process, many gyms will have you sign a waiver that covers them for any mishaps that may take place while you’re working out on their premises. So considering this, if you’ve hurt yourself on their property, can you sue a gym for injury? Our personal injury lawyers have pulled together all the information for you to understand your rights and responsibilities should you get injured at the gym.
- Do gyms have a duty of care?
- Are gyms responsible for injuries?
- Can you sue a gym for injury if you’ve signed a waiver?
- What to do if you hurt yourself at the gym?
Do gyms have a duty of care?
Yes, they do. There are various scenarios imaginable where you might be injured at the gym, but to pursue a personal injury claim, the gym or personal trainer must be found to have failed their duty of care to you.
Gyms (and gym owners) have the responsibility to provide equipment that is fit for the intended purpose and in sound working order. They must also provide and maintain a safe environment, with properly trained staff. Faulty equipment is not acceptable for use and would be an example of negligence i.e. failing their duty of care.
24/7 gyms & non-staffed gyms
Notwithstanding the variable restrictions that COVID is placing on staff presence, many gyms are available 24/7, with keycard access for patrons during non-staffed times. Further, gyms in hotels may never be staffed. This places the onus on users to take care, given the lack of staff supervision, but it does not absolve the gym from duty-of-care responsibilities.
Nevertheless, the novice gym user should probably not pick an unstaffed time to try out new equipment.
Are gyms responsible for injuries?
It ultimately depends on how you sustained the injury. When exercising at the gym, it is important that you take ownership of proper use of the gym equipment. You need to carefully read the instructions and use the resources that are available.The degree of difficulty that you set is also important, such as the selections of weight and resistance.
Additionally, before embarking on a journey with a personal trainer you need to fully disclose all relevant information about your physical health before training. All gyms require a pre-exercise screening form to be completed and it is important that full disclosure is made. Safety is a shared responsibility.
Should you do your own due diligence in using the equipment properly, and you have communicated all physical limitations to your personal trainer, then you may be entitled to seek compensation should you get injured. If the equipment is not up to standard or the trainer has not met their duty of care, then the gym may be responsible for the injuries obtained.
Can you sue a gym for injury if you’ve signed a waiver?
Many businesses, from parachuting, through to gyms, will require patrons to sign a liability waiver, seemingly absolving them of everything, and disallowing the ability to claim if injured.
Before you sign a waiver, make sure you read it in full. However, no waiver can absolve a gym from its obligation to provide a proper duty of care. It is a public liability requirement, irrespective of waivers, and if a business, be it gym or trainer, fails in this obligation, then they may be liable under the law. If you have any questions about this, don’t hesitate to get in contact with our public liability lawyers.
Providing a waiver to patrons is the practice of excluding liability for personal injury, and if the waiver is considered to be unreasonable then it won’t hold up in court. A waiver may be deemed unreasonable based on factors such as:
- The bargaining power between the two parties
- If the consumer was misled into signing the contract
For more information see: Unfair contract terms
What to do if you hurt yourself at the gym?
So, can you sue a gym for injury? Before this can be determined you must:
- Make full notes of the circumstances – date, time, equipment, witnesses etc.
- Report the matter to the gym in writing.
- Seek medical treatment and obtain written evaluation on cause, effect, and likely duration.
- Seek proper legal advice within the appropriate personal injury claim time limits.
Speak to a personal injury lawyer
Contact our experienced personal injury lawyers on 1800 770 780 to find out more about your rights and responsibilities and the steps you need to take. We can also assist with understanding limiting liability or answer any questions about making a claim so you can be completely supported should you injure yourself at your gym.