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Can you file a personal injury claim against a gym, even if you signed a waiver of liability?

Any time you engage in a physical activity, it’s going to come with some risks, whether it’s a trampoline, a marathon, a walk or working out in a gym. The question we’re looking at here today is can you file a personal injury claim against a gym if you get injured there, even if you did sign a waiver of liability that is supposed to absolve them of any responsibility.

The answer: it depends.

Most gyms and fitness centers require a member to sign a waiver, also known as an “exculpatory agreement” or a “contract of adhesion,” as a condition of membership. This means that the fitness center and their staff would not be held responsible should you sprain an ankle on a treadmill, or hurt your back during a Zumba class. In these cases, you are engaging in an activity and assume the risk of getting hurt (the legal term is called “assumption of the risk”). In these scenarios, the gym wouldn’t be found negligent or careless.

So when can an injured member of a fitness club file a personal injury claim against them?

Frequently used fine print in liability waivers

Many times waiver language is kept intentionally broad, to make it harder to sue a health club for a personal injury. An example of a term frequently used in a liability waiver is that the member “willingly assumes” all risks associated with the use of the equipment or while exercising. Some waivers include the following fine print:

  • The gym member assumes the responsibility for falls, sprains, strains, broken bones, and even death;

  • The gym member assumes the responsibility for injury or death due to the ordinary negligence of other gym members;

  • The gym member assumes the risk of injury or death due to defects in equipment;

  • The gym member assumes the risk of any injury caused by the negligence of the facility or its employees.

Would all of this fine print hold up in a court of law?

Let’s look at a couple of examples when courts have ruled in favor of a personal injury settlement for a member injured at a fitness center.

  • ·Getting injured as a result of an employee’s, other member’s, or the facility’s intentional or reckless behavior:The reasoning is that you didn’t sign up at a fitness center expecting to be physically assaulted or intentionally hurt in some other way.

  • Equipment defects: A fitness center (and/or the manufacturer) is responsible for their equipment defects, or for failure to maintain them for optimum safety of use.

Courts do not like unclear or overly-complicated contractual language in general, and that applies to broad or insufficient information in a waiver. Additionally, if the fine print that details important information is too small, the waiver may not be upheld.

Most businesses have a general liability insurance policy to cover many types of personal injuries that may occur on their premises. The general liability insurance covers third-party bodily injury, product liability, third-party property damage and libel, slander and copyright.

If you’ve been seriously injured at a health club, gym or fitness center, and you aren’t sure if you have any rights to a personal injury claim, since you did sign a waiver of liability, give us a call. You shouldn’t assume that just because you did sign one, that you don’t have any recourse. You just might.

Whatever you do, keep moving, walk, work out and stay healthy! The potential risks are worth a healthy body.

If you have any questions about this topic or any other questions related to personal injury law, please call us at 920-725-8464, or toll free at 1-800-529-1552. Our personal injury consultations are always free.

Please click on read our other personal injury articles.

The content of this blog was prepared by Law Offices of DiRenzo & Bomier, LLC for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or provide legal advice. Laws differ by jurisdiction, and the information in this blog may not apply to you. You should seek the assistance of an attorney licensed to practice in your state before taking any action. Using this blog site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Law Offices of DiRenzo & Bomier, LLC -client relationships can only be created by written contract.

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