If you have stuck with your New Year’s resolutions to this point, you must feel very proud of yourself. Making a plan to get healthy is difficult in a world where bad eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle threaten to sabotage your every effort. Therefore, you have avoided food triggers, given up sugary drinks and joined one of the many gyms in Georgia. Things were going well, and you may have noticed some changes in your body and your frame of mind.
Then you suffered an injury. It was more than a pulled back muscle or a knee strain. The fact that your injury happened at the gym may seem ironic, but the injury has left you with a calendar full of medical appointments and days filled with pain. In addition to the days you are missing from your job, you are likely already receiving bills for your medical treatment. You want to hold the gym responsible for your injury, but you may not be sure if you have a case.
How much weight does your contract carry?
The day you signed up for membership at your gym, you probably took a tour of the facility, received a free t-shirt and experienced a complimentary session with a personal trainer. You also signed a contract agreeing to the terms of membership, including monthly fees and a code of conduct. That contract likely included a waiver of injury liability. This means that, before you had your first workout, you agreed you would not hold the gym responsible for any injuries you might suffer while using the facilities.
While that clause may make it seem like you have no options, there may be certain factors that open the way for you to pursue restitution through a civil claim; for example:
- The owner of the gym failed to properly maintain the equipment.
- The owner of the gym failed to repair equipment that was damaged.
- A flaw in the design of the equipment rendered it dangerous for reasonable use.
- The manufacturer of the equipment failed to follow the intended design, resulting in a defective product.
- The labels or warnings on the equipment were inadequate for reasonable use.
A liability waiver that is too broad may not be enforceable in a court of law. While some of these factors above may involve holding the manufacturer of the equipment responsible for your injuries, the gym owner may be liable if he or she was aware of the danger and failed to mitigate it for your safety.