Americans love the gym. Whether we miss the activity and exercise from recess and gym class in school or we’re wistful for the waistline from our younger days, millions of us are spending millions of hours in the gym and millions of dollars on gym memberships. And we expect that gyms will show the same dedication to their equipment — buying the best and maintaining equipment in the best condition.
But what happens when that doesn’t happen? Are gyms liable for injuries caused by faulty equipment?
Like any other business, gyms have a duty to keep their patrons safe. But, when it comes to lawsuits regarding a gym’s equipment, that liability can be complicated by a couple of factors. The first hurdle to a lawsuit may be a liability waiver, if you signed one. Many, if not all gyms require members to waive injury liability, and whether that waiver will prevent you from filing an injury lawsuit will depend on the terms of the agreement.
Some liability waivers only bar lawsuits based on gym or employee negligence, and are generally upheld in court. Other waivers attempt to provide total immunity for gyms, but can be found unenforceable if they’re too broad. A gym’s waiver may attempt to limit liability for equipment-related injuries, but may not cover instances where the gym failed to maintain the equipment properly, or knew the equipment was faulty and failed to fix it.
Certain equipment, like treadmills, can be inherently dangerous. And some equipment may have been designed or manufactured poorly or lack adequate warnings regarding its proper use. Gym equipment manufacturers have a duty to ensure their products are safe, and may be strictly liable if a person is injured using on their product. Product liability claims against gym equipment manufacturers can be based on:
Defects in Design: The gym equipment’s design is flawed making it unreasonably dangerous to users;
Defects in Manufacturing: The equipment was improperly manufactured, dangerously departing from the intended design; or
Defects in Warnings: The equipment lacks adequate instructions or warnings, rendering the product unreasonably dangerous.
While equipment manufacturers can be liable for defects in their products, gyms may also be liable if they knew the equipment was dangerous and did not fix or remove it.
If you’ve been injured at the gym and think a faulty piece of equipment was to blame, contact an experienced personal injury attorney near you.