Most of us view time spent at the gym as an investment in our health, but gym-related injuries can create serious medical problems. Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common types of gym injuries, leaving victims with hefty medical bills as well as lost wages during their recovery. Fortunately, compensation may be available to help you get back on track.
Types of Slip and Fall Injuries
Slip and fall accidents in a gym can happen in a variety of places:
- In the lobby. When warning signs aren't placed on a freshly waxed floor, guests may slip and fall.
- In the locker room. If there is insufficient rubber matting or handrails, this creates a hazardous environment. Guests may also slip if wet floors aren't being mopped regularly.
- On equipment. You may lose your footing when using a treadmill or other workout equipment if surfaces are covered in sweat or cleaning fluids.
- In common areas. Cords from machines, loose carpeting, or personal items not properly stored in lockers can create tripping hazards.
Slip and fall accidents can result in contusions, sprains, strains, broken bones, or a concussion. Injuries to the back, knees, ankles, or wrists are most often associated with a slip and fall accident, although it's possible to injure multiple body parts in a fall.
How Liability Waivers Affect Your Claim
Most gyms, even the smaller independent facilities, have a liability waiver that new members are asked to sign. The waiver effectively absolves the facility from responsibility for any injuries that occur on the premises. Waivers are typically not explained to prospective members and may be hidden in pages of introductory information about the gym's locker room policies and key deposits. As a result, many people aren't even aware they've signed away their right to sue until they've been injured.
Fortunately, waivers can be revoked for two reasons:
- Vague or ambiguous language. A waiver that uses imprecise language that is open to interpretation is unenforceable. While most waivers are written by experienced attorneys, a waiver written by a small business owner with no legal training may not be enforceable due to poor word choices.
- Gross negligence: A properly written waiver excuses your gym from liability for accidents that occur as the result of ordinary mishaps, but it doesn't allow the facility to express reckless disregard for the safety of its members. A gym that knowingly fails to clean up overflowing trash cans or repair broken equipment can be held liable for slip and fall injuries regardless of whether the member signed a waiver.
Protecting Your Right to Compensation
If you've been injured in a slip and fall accident in a gym, there are several steps you can take to protect your right to a fair settlement:
- Report the incident to the manager as soon as it occurs. If possible, have other guests or gym employees on hand to corroborate your story.
- Take pictures of the scene. If possible, take pictures of the accident scene to document the tripping hazards or slippery surfaces that contributed to your fall. Photograph your visible injuries as well.
- Seek medical treatment. Have your injuries evaluated, even if they seem relatively minor. It's common for injuries to become more painful a day or two after the accident, but you need to establish a link between the incident and your injuries immediately. Follow the doctor’s recommended course of treatment precisely.
- Document your expenses. Keep copies of all accident-related expenses, including medical bills and pay stubs showing any applicable lost wages.
- Don't speculate about the cause of your injuries. Limit your communication to the basic facts and avoid making statements that could be interpreted as accepting fault for your injuries.
- Contact an attorney. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney will help you determine how to best proceed with your case. Contact Neblett, Beard & Arsenault today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at one of our six convenient office locations. Don't wait. Call us today at 318.541.8188.