You can bring a personal injury lawsuit if you were hurt by faulty gym equipment. This would typically be a product liability lawsuit against the equipment company. However, the gym may be liable if it negligently assembled, installed, or maintained the devices.
Our personal injury lawyers have found that suing all potentially liable parties is essential for a good outcome.
How can faulty gym equipment cause an injury?
Gym equipment can cause an injury in a wide variety of ways. Some common ways they can cause an injury include:
- treadmills that go faster than they should or that stop abruptly,
- exercise bikes that are not sturdy and that break or fall over while in use,
- exercise machines that use belts or pulleys that fray and break,
- weight machines that have their “dead-stop” safety mechanism set too low, and
- electrical shocks.
These issues can result from one or more of the following problems:
- defective design,
- poor manufacturing,
- inadequate warnings,
- improper installation by gym employees, and
- ineffective maintenance by gym staff.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) estimated that 468,315 people were hurt by exercise equipment in 2019 alone.
Some of these are serious injuries.
What types of personal injuries are common in a gym accident?
The injuries that you can suffer from faulty gym equipment vary widely. Some are relatively minor. Other equipment injuries are severe and can leave you with substantial disfigurements. A few are life-altering or even fatal.
A few common or serious examples of gym accident injuries are:
- strained or torn muscles,
- broken bones, particularly fingers, hands, feet, or legs,
- lacerations, some of which can be life-threatening,
- brain injuries,
- back injuries,
- spinal injuries, and
- crush injuries from weights falling on you.
If you suffered one of these injuries, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the person or party responsible.
If your loved one suffered one of these injuries and it was fatal, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf.
Who can I file a personal injury lawsuit against?
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you can file a personal injury claim against:
- the company behind the faulty gym equipment, and/or
- the gym or fitness center.
We have found that filing claims against both of them is often wise. As evidence is gathered and it becomes clearer which party is at fault, they will already be in the lawsuit. Additionally, their attempts to blame the other for your injuries can lead to discovering evidence that strengthens your case.
Products liability claims against the equipment company
A gym injury lawsuit against the company behind the gym equipment would be based on product liability. It would claim that the gym equipment was a defective product because it was:
Generally, gym equipment can be defectively designed if it either:
- is not as safe as an ordinary consumer would expect when the equipment is used as intended or reasonably foreseeable, or
- the design’s benefits do not outweigh its inherent risks.
However, the personal injury laws in different states may tweak these standards for a defectively designed product.
The gym equipment may have manufacturing defects if the particular piece of equipment varies from the design.
It may have a marketing, or warning, defect if it fails to adequately warn users of known potential harms that would be encountered when correctly using the equipment.
If there was any of these defects in the gym equipment that hurt you, the company can be held strictly liable for your injuries.
Claims of negligence against the gym
The claim against the gym and gym owner would be based on the gym’s negligence.
It would argue that the gym failed to uphold its duty of care to protect you from harm. You would be entitled to compensation if you can show that this failure caused your injuries.
What compensation can I recover for my gym injury?
You can recover financial compensation for all of your legal damages from the gym injury. This covers all of the ways that you have suffered from the incident.
It goes beyond just your medical bills. It also includes compensation for your professional losses, like your lost wages, and your pain and suffering. Your family members may even recover compensation for their loss of consortium.
Because most companies are insured, the compensation from a legal action would be paid out by an insurance company.
With our legal advice, we can use your medical records to prove that the gym injury caused your injuries and other losses and not a pre-existing condition.
What if I was partially at fault?
If you were partially at fault for your injuries, your state’s shared fault law would come into play.
For example: Nate ignores his personal trainer’s advice and adds more weight to an exercise machine. It breaks and he needs medical attention.
Nearly all states use some form of comparative negligence. Under these rules, jurors would assign you and the defendants a percentage of fault for your injuries. The financial compensation you are awarded would then be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Some states, like Florida and California, use pure comparative negligence. In these states, your compensation would be reduced by your percentage of fault no matter how responsible you were for your injuries.
Other states, like Nevada, use modified comparative fault rules. There, your compensation would be reduced by your percentage of fault, but you would be barred from recovering anything if you were more than half at fault.
What if the fitness center claims that I signed a liability waiver?
Most gyms and fitness centers require gym members to sign a liability waiver in order to use the gym equipment. It is often a part of your application for a gym membership. By signing it, you accept the assumption of risk and agree to hold the gym harmless for its negligence.
However, liability waivers do not insulate gyms or fitness centers from injuries caused by their:
Our law firm’s experienced personal injury attorneys have also gotten around a liability waiver by showing that it is unenforceable. This can keep your personal injury case moving forward.
 See same.
 Florida Statutes 768.81.
 NRS 41.141.