If you have decided to kick-start the year with a new fitness regime, your local gym will no doubt become your regular haunt (for the time-being at least!) New gym memberships soar in the first few months of the year as people adopt the ‘New Year, New Me’ approach. With more than 12% of gym members signing up in January (as opposed to around 8% during the rest of the year), the gym floor gets notoriously busier at this time of year leading to an increased risk of injury. But who is responsible when an accident in the gym leads to injury?
This isn’t necessarily a straightforward question to answer as many factors can be involved in the lead up to an accident.
Broadly, customer safety in the gym falls under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 meaning the occupier of the premises, whether that is a private business or council, is responsible for maintaining care of visitors. The occupier is expected to ensure a reasonably safe environment for visitors whether through the use of safety signage where hazards exist or the relevant maintenance of gym equipment and machines.
It is often seen as the job of the gym instructors to ensure users of the gym facilities know how to work any equipment they are using; however, the occupiers (management team) will need to have ensured that any gym instructors they employ have been trained themselves to assist users in the gym on best practices for exercising and using the equipment correctly.
What Sort of Accidents Can Occur in the Gym?
Gym equipment by its very design can be large and heavy, or fast-moving. Without the correct guidance and instruction, the equipment can be complicated. Accidents will often arise as a result of:
- Faulty equipment
- Poorly installed or maintained equipment
- Inadequate training or instructions
- Misunderstood instructions
- Incorrect use of equipment
- Slippery floors or mats
Injuries incurred from these accidents can range from minor ones such as cuts, bruises, or strains to much more serious injuries such as brain or spine damage. Some accidents can even be fatal.
What if I signed a Waiver?
A lot of gyms will make you sign a waiver which will usually be included in the membership sign up form so you might not even realise you’ve already signed one. However, requiring you to sign a waiver doesn’t exempt a company from all liability should an accident occur and it is worth remembering that not all waivers are legally binding. Personal injury claims in cases involving negligence, where a waiver has been signed, will often fall under the Unfair Contract Terms Act of 1977 so if you have signed a waiver and subsequently suffered an injury, it is worth speaking to a personal injury specialist before dismissing the chance of a claim.
What to Do if You Have an Accident in the Gym
The first things you should do following an accident in the gym is:
Seek medical assistance. It is essential that you get a medical professional to assess the extent of your injuries. This will be important is establishing what damages you can make a claim for.
Report the accident to the management team at your gym so it can be logged in the accident book. You should also report any faults with equipment that led to the accident so they can be dealt with.
Take photographs of your injuries and any faults in equipment that led to the accident.
You should then seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity from a specialist in personal injury claims. Many claims like these can be taken on a ‘no win no fee’ basis.
What Can Be Claimed After a Gym Accident?
There are a number of damages that can be claimed for after an accident at the gym. Not all will apply to every case so it is important you speak with a solicitor should you wish to pursue a claim.
General damages for the pain and suffering caused
Medical and rehabilitation expenses
Care expenses – if you needed to hire a carer, or were assisted by a family member or friend while you recovered
Loss of earnings – if the injury forced you to take time off work
Travel expenses – for travel to and from medical appointments
If the accident was fatal and you lost a loved one following a gym accident, you may be entitled to make a fatal accident claim. You can find out more about these types of claims here.
Injuries as a result of an accident in the gym caused by negligence can have a long-lasting impact on your life, both physically and mentally. Making a claim for compensation won’t change what happened but it can go some way to providing much needed financial support and eventually closure on the terrible experience.
To discuss whether you have a no win no fee claim for compensation, get in touch with our experienced Personal Injury Solicitors at Farleys on 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry online.