Gyms and liability: Who’s to blame?

A gym can be a great place to exercise, but who can be held liable if you suffer an injury while you’re working out? Sometimes, the gym itself is liable, but that isn’t always the case.

Unless you sign a waiver when you enter the facility, the gym itself may be held liable for your injuries since you’re on the owner’s premises. You may also be able to hold the manufacturer of equipment liable if something on the machine is defective and causes you injuries. For instance, if metal on a barbell snaps because of a weak point that is a known defect, you could have a case against the manufacturer and potentially the owner if the recall should have been known about.

Normally, gym owners will use a waiver and release form to make sure they can’t be held liable for any injuries you suffer during a workout. This can be used as a defense for gym owners if they’re sued, because it shows that the individual was aware of the risks of using equipment or working out at the facility. Instead of the gym taking on liability, the individual assumes the risk. So, if you sign this agreement, you’re agreeing that you understand that you could get hurt in the normal course of exercise.

Unsafe conditions in the gym may be another story, however. Owners still need to make sure that the facility is free of hazards that could injure their patrons. The gym owner has a duty to protect members from harm that is caused by dangers that should be known about by said owner.

Source: Miami Herald, “My View: Taking measures to minimize liability in gyms,” Michelle K. Suarez, accessed April 28, 2016