Exercising regularly is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and training at a gym means you get a range of fitness equipment at your disposal. But, working out at a gym also runs the risk of serious workout injuries occurring.
While not all workout or gym injuries are at the fault of the facility, sporting coach or personal trainer, there are certain situations in which they can be held accountable. In these situations, you can seek sporting injury compensation or a claim for your gym injuries.
So, when do you have a case for legal action for a sporting injury or against a gym? And how do you know what you’re entitled to? Here’s what you need to know.
What do I do if I’ve been injured at the gym?
If you have sustained a serious injury while working out at a gym:
See a doctor or health professional for medical treatment
Report your injuries to the gym’s management
Seek legal advice
Can I make a compensation claim for my workout injury
You can consider making a compensation claim for your workout injuries if:
You're suffering persistent and ongoing symptoms and/or pain
The injury occurred at no fault of your own and;
Someone owed you a duty of care (e.g.: a personal trainer or staff member)
These types of claims are public liability claims, and most businesses have public liability insurance for when injuries like these happen. If your injury was a result of your trainer, coach or the gym’s negligence, you may be eligible to claim compensation.
However, it is your responsibility to always use your best judgment, know your physical limits and use the workout equipment correctly. For example, if you’ve used a weights machine incorrectly or tried to lift a heavier load than you can handle, you won’t be eligible to claim compensation for your gym injury.
When am I entitled to workout injury compensation?
Faulty gym equipment:
gyms have a responsibility to ensure all available equipment is fit for use and isn’t damaged, broken, or insufficiently maintained. The gym may have breached its duty of care if you suffer an injury because of faulty exercise equipment.
Personal trainer negligence:
your personal trainer must advise on exercises that are within your range; otherwise, they could be putting you at risk. If a personal trainer instructs you to do something beyond your abilities that causes an injury, you’re likely entitled to compensation.
Other gym patrons causing injury:
accidents like dropping weights on another person can happen, so if your injury was entirely the fault of another gym member, you might be able to claim compensation from that individual instead of the gym.
Can I claim compensation for workout injuries if I signed a waiver?
When you joined the gym or workout class, you likely signed a waiver stating you agree to exercise at your own risk and that the gym cannot be held liable for any of your injuries (or something similarly worded).
While this is standard practice, it does not and cannot excuse the gym from its duty of care to patrons.
Gyms are responsible for providing a safe workout environment and for keeping the exercise equipment in safe working order. They have an obligation to ensure your safety when exercising at their facility, and your signing a waiver doesn’t change that.
Gym Injury Negligence Case
Our client Becca' was working out with a personal trainer when she was advised to attempt a callisthenic movement on a set of bars at the gym. The movement involved swinging from one bar to another.
Despite our client's hesitations, the personal trainer assured her the movement was easy, so Becca attempted it and ended up falling onto the hard surface below. There were no mats or crash pads for protection against the hard floor in the gym, so Becca fractured her elbow from the impact of the fall and required surgery.
There was evidence that proved the personal trainer would often train clients on this gym equipment with this sort of callisthenic movements. Still, the facility took no steps to ensure that the area was set up for this sort of training, for example, by ensuring there were absorption mats on the floor to avoid the foreseeable risk of injury.
Because of her injury, Becca was no longer suited to physical work (which dominated her working history). She was instead limited to only light sedentary employment, with at least 17 years of working life left ahead of her. She received compensation for her injuries, as well as the income she lost as a result. *Name has been changed to protect our client's privacy.
How can I reduce my risk of injury at the gym?
If you suffer a workout injury, it can set you back in reaching your fitness goals.
Here are tips on how to avoid injuring yourself while at the gym:
Start slowly and gradually increase the weights you’re using and the intensity of your workouts.
Use gym equipment properly and for what it’s intended for, otherwise, you could be deemed at fault if you get injured.
Don’t overestimate your physical abilities or it may be your fault if you get hurt from doing an exercise beyond your skillset.
Disclose your injuries and medical conditions with your personal trainer, so they can develop a training program for you that avoids further harm.
Contact Shine Lawyers
Accidents and injuries can happen anywhere, including public places such as gyms, sporting fields and recreational facilities. If you’ve been injured in a public place and somebody owed you a duty of care, you may have a sporting injury compensation claim or workout injury claim.