There are tons of gyms in Los Angeles. You have your pick between Gold’s Gym, Equinox Sports Club, SoulCycle, and dozens of others. The gym is a great place to blow off steam, exercise, and get in shape. You have to be careful and exercise safely. You have to know how to use the equipment and follow your gym’s rules and regulations. What happens if you do everything right and still get hurt? Are you entitled to compensation? Can you file a lawsuit against your gym or another member? For more information, call a Los Angeles personal injury attorney at Citywide Law Group.
Gyms Owe You a Duty of Care
Most gyms will have you sign a piece of paper waiving your rights to sue them if you happen to get hurt on the premises. This might offer the club a limited level of protection if you get hurt through no fault of your own. However, the club can still be liable if you’re injured because the gym or a staff member has been negligent.
Gyms owe you a duty of care. They have to provide facilities that are reasonably safe and free from hazards. This doesn’t mean that gyms have to be covered in foam or lack heavy, potentially dangerous equipment. It simply means that clubs have to make sure there aren’t any hazards that shouldn’t exist that you wouldn’t discover on your own just by simply walking around and working out.
Staff members and gym owners have to inspect the premises regularly to find potential hazards. A gym may be liable for your injuries if you get hurt because of:
- A wet or slippery floor
- Broken equipment
- Mislabeled equipment
- Uneven floors or walkways, or
- Loose rugs or carpets.
These are ill things that could potentially cause a member to get hurt. They’re also not things a member would ordinarily expect to find while working out.
Gyms might also be liable for injuries you sustain in the parking lot while coming to or from the facility. If the club owns the parking lot, they have to provide adequate light, shovel the snow, and give you a safe space to travel.
You Might Be Protected From Dangerous Third-Party Conduct
What if you’re assaulted while working out at the gym? In California, businesses can be liable for injuries that are caused by reasonably foreseeable dangerous third-party conduct. In other words, if the gym knew that criminal or dangerous activity was likely to happen, they have to take steps to protect you. This might include hiring security staff, installing security cameras, or only allowing gym members in the facility. Failure to do so can result in liability for negligent security.
However, your gym will only be on the hook if the harm you suffered was reasonably foreseeable. If the gym is in a safe neighborhood and there’s been no history of criminal activity or violence in the area, the gym will probably not be responsible for your injuries.
Can I Sue Another Gym Member If I Get Hurt?
It depends. Generally speaking, you can file a personal injury lawsuit if you’re injured because of someone else’s negligent behavior. Negligence requires proving that someone owed you a duty of care. Do other members owe you a duty of care? Sure. But to what degree? Does someone breach their duty of care to you by not reracking weights? Probably not.
In order to have a legitimate claim, you’ll probably have to get hurt because someone acts intentionally or with gross negligence. For example, you might have ground to file an injury lawsuit if someone throws free weights at you, increases the speed on your treadmill so that you fall, or pushes you into a weight machine that’s in use, causing you to get crushed in the machine.
These are all behaviors that are clearly a breach of the duty of care that one person owes another at a gym.