While sore joints and aching muscles are common side effects of a grueling workout, more severe injuries can occur at the gym that result in not only physical pain, but financial, and personal damages as well. Unfortunately, bringing a suit against a person or business over this kind of accident is a singularly convoluted process, due to the fact that most gyms have numerous defenses designed to help them avoid liability for accidents involving their members.
Who is liable for my gym-related injuries?
As with most things involving the law, the answer to “Who can I sue for my gym accident?” is “It depends.”
Liability for a gym accident will vary from person to person based on the circumstances surrounding the incident and, to a lesser extent, what protections the gym has or does not have in place to release them from being liable for accidents and injuries that occur on their property.
The Virginia premises liability attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have earned their outstanding reputations for helping injured victims collect full and fair financial compensation through decades of diligent work. If you think you have a potential Virginia premises liability case, schedule a free evaluation with one of our lawyers today.
When is a Gym Responsible for an Accident?
Anytime a lawful visitor is invited onto private property, such as a gym, the owners and employees have a duty to make sure that their premises are in a reasonably safe condition. This includes routine inspections for any potential dangers and then immediately addressing those dangers by way of repairs or warning signs. Any breach of this duty of care that leads directly to a patron sustaining injuries can impose civil liability on the negligent party for any subsequent damages.
What this does not mean, however, is that gyms are responsible for each and every single accident and injury that takes place under their roof. In light of Virginia’s pure contributory negligence rule, this is especially true if the injured victim’s own negligence caused or contributed to their accident to begin with.
Assumption of Risk and Liability Waivers
Liability waivers are a huge factor in almost every gym injury lawsuit because almost everyone who joins a gym is required to sign one. Many people think that these documents absolve the gym from any liability should an accident or incident occur on their property. In that same vein, most gyms, as well as the companies that insure them, will try to claim that anyone who uses their equipment willfully assumed a risk of injury because it is common knowledge that physical exertion can sometimes lead to injuries, and, based on that reasoning, the injured victim has no grounds to sue.
It is important to note, however, these assumptions and waivers may not be legally enforceable, especially if they are applied to a minor who isn’t legally bound by the agreement or if they are drafted to be deliberately confusing. Likewise, a liability waiver does not release a gym from liability for willful misconduct or gross negligence committed by the gym owner or an employee.
What Should I Do After a Gym Accident?
No matter how it happened, if you are considering filing a suit over a gym accident, there are steps you can take to protect your rights and bolster your claim. These steps include seeking a prompt medical diagnosis and appropriate care, as well as reporting your accident and injuries to the person in charge, taking pictures of the scene as well as your injuries, and getting the contact details of anyone who witnessed your accident.
It is also important that you keep track of all of your receipts, bills, emails, and any other attempts at communication from anybody involved in the incident, especially any doctors who diagnosed and treated your gym-related injuries.
An experienced Virginia premises liability lawyer will be able to incorporate all of your evidence into the most compelling case possible.
Contact a Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you sustained injuries in a Virginia gym accident and wish to speak to a qualified lawyer about what to do next, reach out to the respected Virginia personal injury firm of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, by calling (833) 997-1774 or via our online contact form.
For over twenty years, Mr. Sharp's law practice has focused on serious personal injury claims, including traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury claims. He also handles nursing home neglect cases and medical malpractice claims. Mr. Sharp has counseled numerous clients about the complexities concerning litigation of both pediatric and adult brain injury.