In Las Vegas, plaintiffs can often recover money for injuries sustained at a fitness center or gym. Damages may include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and, in extreme cases, even wrongful death or punitive damages.
Common wrongs for which plaintiffs can recover for gym injuries in Las Vegas include:
- Employee negligence,
- Unsafe conditions / premises liability,
- Slip-and-fall injuries,
- Defective equipment,
- Failure to properly maintain equipment,
- Location of equipment in an unsafe place,
- Fights between members, and
- Intentional wrongful or criminal acts of employees, such as:
- Assault and battery,
- False imprisonment,
- Gender discrimination,
- Sexual battery, or
- Invasion of privacy.
To help you better understand when you can recover damages for a gym injury in Nevada, our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers discuss, below:
- 1. When is a gym liable for my Las Vegas fitness center injuries?
- 1.1. Negligence by Nevada gym employees
- 1.2. Intentional wrongful acts of Nevada gym employees
- 1.3. Negligent hiring, retention or supervision of a Nevada gym employee
- 1.4. Discriminatory fitness center policies or practices
- 1.5. Strict liability for defective gym equipment
- 2. What damages can I recover if I am injured at a Nevada gym?
- 3. What if I signed a liability waiver with my gym?
- 4. What if I am partially to blame for my Nevada gym injury?
- 5. What if I was injured by another patron at a Las Vegas fitness center?
Normally, under the law, people are individually responsible for wrongful acts against others. However, under certain circumstances, an employer may become liable for the action of its employees.
In Nevada, a gym may be held legally liable for a patron's injuries when:
- The employee was doing his or her ordinary duties but was negligent,
- Intentional wrongful acts by gym employees,
- The gym engaged in a violation of Nevada's law on the negligent hiring, retention or supervision of an employee, or
- The gym's policies or practices were themselves wrongful.
Let's take a closer look at each of these situations.
Sometimes gym employees cause injuries not because they are unfit for a job, but simply because they are negligent.
Nevada law makes a gym liable for injuries caused by employee negligence when:
- The employee was acting within the scope of his or her employment, and
- The injury was a normal risk of the employer's business.
Example: Dan is walking into the Life Cycle room at his fitness center when he slips on a floor that is wet with sweat from the prior class. The instructor who checked the floors did so in a hurry so that he could check his text messages before the next class.
As a result of the wet floor, Daniel slips and hits his head on a cycle, sustaining a brain injury. Slip-and-fall accidents are a normal risk of fitness businesses. An employee was negligent in checking the floors, which falls within the normal duties of his job. Under Nevada's doctrine of respondeat superior, the gym is liable for Daniel's injuries.
Sometimes a gym employee's actions are more than mere negligence. Sometimes the wrongs are intentional.
Intentional wrongs often committed by gym employees include:
- Sexual harassment,
- Sexual assault,
- Discrimination based on gender, gender identity or sexual orientation,
- False imprisonment, or
- Invasion of privacy.
Example: Ben, who works in a gym in a Las Vegas hotel, takes photos of naked women in the changing room and posts them on the internet. Ben has violated Nevada's invasion of privacy law. As a result, he is liable for negligence per se under Nevada law. The women involved can sue him.
Normally, an employer is not responsible for the intentional wrongful acts of its employees. Taking photos of women in the gym, for instance, is not part of an employee's job. It is not an inherent risk of running a fitness center.
However, if the gym knew about or was legally on notice about Ben's behavior, it might be liable under Nevada's law against negligent hiring, retention or supervision (discussed immediately below).
Even though Nevada employers aren't usually liable for intentional torts committed by employees, a Las Vegas fitness center may be liable under Nevada's law on negligent hiring, retention or supervision if:
- The gym failed to conduct a reasonable background check of an employee,
- The gym hired or retained an employee who the gym knew, or should have known, was unfit for the position or who posed a danger to patrons, or
- The gym was negligent in supervising, disciplining or training the employee.
For purposes of this law, independent contractors (such as trainers) count as employees if the gym chooses them or pays them.
Example: Clara belongs to a Las Vegas gym which contracts with trainers to work with patrons who elect to pay them an extra fee. Clara books a trainer through the gym to help her get in shape for the summer. The trainer received a training certificate after taking a two-week online course. The gym offered no extra training.
Clara suffers a spinal injury after the trainer has her lift more weight than she can handle. Because the trainer was unfit for the job, the gym is most likely liable for Clara's damages.
Both federal and Nevada law make it illegal for businesses to discriminate based on gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.
Discounted Las Vegas gym memberships offered to women on “ladies nights” have been held to constitute gender bias under Nevada law.
Likewise, any policy that applies separately to men and women (other than having separate bathrooms, showers and changing areas) could violate Nevada anti-discrimination laws.
Anyone who manufactures, distributes or sells a defective product in Nevada is strictly liable for injuries caused by that product, even if that person or company was not negligent.
If you were injured by defective equipment at a Las Vegas gym, there may be several parties you can sue.
Our Las Vegas product liability lawyers offer free consultations to help you determine whether the equipment you used was defective and what parties might be liable for your injuries.
If you are injured because of a gym's negligence or other liability, you may be entitled to recover for:
- Medical bills,
- Physical or occupation rehabilitation,
- Lost wages,
- Lost earning capacity,
- Legal fees,
- Loss of use of your limb or life enjoyment, and
- Pain and suffering.
In some cases, you may even be able to recover punitive damages or damages for the negligent infliction of emotional distress in the case of the wrongful death of a family member.
Our Las Vegas injury attorneys will go over your case and help you determine all your damages so you don't leave compensation on the table.
Waivers of liability are legally enforceable contracts in Nevada. However, legally such waivers can only apply to ordinary negligence. If the employee or fitness center was guilty of gross negligence, a patron can still recover for damages.
One of our experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorneys can review the contract you signed and determine whether you have a basis for recovery.
Nevada follows a comparative negligence (shared fault) standard for personal injuries. Under Nevada's shared fault law, a defendant is liable for a percentage of a plaintiff's damages as long as the defendant was at least 50% at fault.
So even if you were partially to blame for your injuries at a Las Vegas fitness center, as long as someone else was at least 50% liable you still have a case.
Example: Lou is staying in a Las Vegas hotel whose health club honors memberships from the club Lou belongs to at home. However, while the Las Vegas club issues cards with the membership expiration date, Lou's card lists his membership start date.
The employee who takes Lou's card doesn't look at it until Lou is already on the treadmill. When he asks Lou to leave the club, Lou refuses. The employee then grabs Lou's arm and pulls him off the treadmill. Lou falls and hits his head on the cement floor.
A jury determines that Lou would be entitled to $50,000 in damages if the gym were totally liable for the accident. But the jurors hold Lou 20% at fault for refusing to get off the treadmill when the employee asked him. Accordingly, Lou's award is reduced by 20% to $40,000.
Gyms are not normally liable for the wrongful acts of other patrons. However, Las Vegas fitness centers have a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent injury to patrons.
If the gym failed to exercise adequate supervision of its premises and, as a result, you were injured by another patron, the gym may be liable.
Example: A gym in Las Vegas has a history of fighting in the free weight room. To remedy the problem, the gym requires management to have at least one employee in the room at all times.
While an employee is taking his legally mandated morning break, however, he fails to arrange for someone to cover him and a fight breaks out. Carl, who does not take part in the altercation, is nevertheless injured when someone takes a swing at another patron with a 40-pound dumbbell and hits Carl instead. Carl can most likely recover from the gym for his injuries.
Injured in a Las Vegas gym? Call us for help…
If you or someone you know was injured while working out at a Las Vegas fitness center, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.
Sometime injuries are just the result of over-exertion. But often they occur because of a Las Vegas gym employee's negligence or even an intentional wrongful act.
Contact us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) or complete the form on this page to schedule your free consultation. Find out how we can help you get the out-of-court settlement or jury verdict and the compensation you deserve.