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Holding a Gym Liable for Injuries: What Works and What Doesn’t

gym injuries


We Coloradans take our health and exercise very seriously, which often includes exercising at a gym.  Gym injuries occur on a regular basis. According to the Insurance Information Institute, nearly 378,000 people were injured using exercise equipment in 2020.


There’s definitely some risk involved with going to your local fitness center. People working out individually will sometimes overexert themselves and suffer a muscle or a bone injury as a result. But there are times where the gym itself plays a role in an injury suffered by one of its patrons.


If you were hurt in a gym and you think the facility is at-fault, contact a Denver premises liability lawyer at Zaner Harden Law. We will get to the bottom of why you were hurt, and we may be able to help you obtain compensation.


Please call 720-594-6256 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.


You May Be Able to File a Lawsuit if…

When you make the decision to work out in a gym, you’re also making a commitment to your overall health – and you should be commended for that. The last thing you’d expect is to suffer an injury due to your gym’s negligence.


Consider speaking with a Zaner Harden Law attorney if any of the following apply to you. If they do, you may have grounds to take legal action. 


 1. The injury occurred outside the scope of the liability waiver

gym injuries weights

Upon registering for a membership or using day passes, gyms typically ask that you sign a release of liability waiver. This simply means the person signing it agrees not to hold the gym liable if they’re hurt in the gym or on gym property.


If you are injured at the gym, the gym will try to use the waiver of proof that you were fully warned of the potential risks, and you agreed to assume them.


Liability waivers aren’t necessarily iron-clad. A skilled lawyer will often be able to argue that the waiver should not shield the gym from being sued. For example, your legal representative may claim that the gym committed gross negligence.


This means that the facility, or an employee of the facility, deliberately put a person in danger. 


2. The injury occurred as a failure of the gym’s express or implied safety assurances

People who go to a gym to work out understand there might be some risk, but they also assume the gym will do everything possible to keep them safe.


When a gym invites the general public to enter, it must take steps to do just that. If someone with the gym either knew about a hazard, or should have known about it – and failed to address that hazard – anyone hurt as a result may be able to take legal action.


3. Language of the liability waiver excluded possible risks

As you’ve already learned, liability waivers can have weaknesses. The waiver you signed when you went to the gym might be thrown out if it failed to address certain risks, such as an employee intentionally doing something that caused your injury. 


4. The gym could have prevented you from being injured by a third party

If you’ve ever been to a gym, you’ve probably run across someone who, to put it mildly, didn’t respect other people who were working out. For example, they might swing their arms wildly when using barbells with little consideration for anyone nearby who could be hit.  


Gym personnel should take whatever steps necessary to tell people like that to leave, to stop that behavior, or to be more respectful of others. If gym personnel fail to take those steps, and someone gets hurt as a result, the injured person may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the gym as well as the inconsiderate person.  


Common Causes of Gym Injuries

gym injuries cleaning


There are many ways someone can get hurt in a gym: they could trip on a treadmill, drop a kettlebell on their foot, or pull a calf muscle using the leg lift machine. In most cases, people who suffer gym injuries under those circumstances probably won’t be able to sue.


However, gym injuries often occur due to negligence. These are just a few examples. 


1. Faulty or Defective Equipment

Gymnasiums have a duty to ensure all equipment their guests use are functioning properly. The manufacturers also have a duty to ensure the equipment they manufacture is safe. When the manufacturer fails to meet that duty by making a defective product, anyone injured while using it might be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer.


2. Failure to clean equipment

Part of going to a gym is knowing that someone else has very likely just sat on a stationary bike you want to use or was just lying on a weight bench. It’s basic gym etiquette for people to clean the equipment when they’re done using it by wiping it with cleaning products provided by the gym.


If the prior user neglects to clean equipment after they’ve used it, then it falls on a gym employee to make sure that all exercise stations are sanitary. Failure to do so could expose people to bacteria that could cause severe illnesses and infections. 


3. Failure to repair broken equipment



Damaged weight racks, bars and cables can cause severe injuries, as can exercise bikes with broken pedal straps, handlebars or seats. When a gym neglects to fix these and other problems with their equipment, they can face liability. 


4. Improper instruction from a trainer or teacher

Fitness centers often have trainers on staff to help people get the most out of their workouts and to be as safe as possible while doing them. If a trainer told you to lift too much weight or to stay on the treadmill too long and you were hurt as a result, you might be able to file a lawsuit.


Trainers must be qualified enough to know a client’s limits and not tell them to “fight through” the pain and fatigue if they know it can be dangerous to do so. Giving this type of “advice” may result in a lawsuit against the gym.


Hurt at the gym? We can help.

The attorneys at Zaner Harden Law have a great deal of experience representing clients who have suffered gym injuries. If you would like a free case review, please call 720-594-6256 or use our online contact form.


Contact our Denver Premises Liability Law Firm Today For Help

For more information please contact Zaner Harden Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation with a Denver premises liability lawyer.


Zaner Harden Personal Injury Lawyers

1610 Wynkoop Street, Suite 120. Denver, CO 80202
(720) 613 9706

Where We Are

We are located across the street from Union Station in downtown Denver and offer validated parking for all our clients. We also have offices in Boulder and Colorado Springs.