What a difference a few months can make. According to an article of the 12th of January 2021, in the Guardian newspaper, UK gyms, pools and leisure centres were teetering ‘on a financial cliff edge‘ unless they received more government support, as the impact of a further Covid lockdown started to bite.
Fast forward just eight months, and the same newspaper reports that many gyms are looking to expand into empty shops as people are heading back to the gym in such large numbers post lockdown.
When there are surges in new gym memberships (usually experienced at the start of every New Year, when people resolve to shed the festive pounds), many of those joining gyms will be doing so for the first time.
Whilst most gyms are well-run places, gym accidents happen. It is often the less experienced, newbie gym-goers who suffer an injury. Sometimes this is because they try to do too much too soon or because they don’t fully understand how to use the equipment.
Not every gym accident is someone else’s fault. Whether you can make a successful gym accident claim depends on your case’s particular circumstances. We shall explore this in more detail below.
Can the gym owner be liable for a gym accident?
An Act of Parliament, the Occupiers Liability Act 1957, regulates the duty of care an occupier of premises (in this case, a gym owner) owes to all his visitors.
The occupier must take such care as is reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure the visitor will be reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes intended. So, gym members can expect to use the premises to do gym workouts using the equipment and facilities provided, in the expectation that they will not suffer injury in an accident caused by the negligence (carelessness) of the gym owner (or his staff).
As part of the gym owner’s duty of care to the people who use his gym, he must:
- Carry out regular inspections of all gym machinery and equipment
- Maintain, replace or repair any faulty equipment
- Carry out regular risk assessments
- Keep the floor clean and free from trip, slip or fall hazards
- Ensure good hygiene by cleaning down all equipment regularly and leaving appropriate hygiene spray and cloths available to members to do a pre and post equipment wipedown themselves as an extra precaution.
- Ensure all gym training staff are competent and appropriately qualified
- Ensure that every new gym member goes through a thorough induction process before using the gym.
How are most gym accidents usually caused?
- Trip slip or fall accidents – trips over mats with raised edges, slips on liquid left on the floor or trips and falls over gym equipment that’s been left standing in gangways and other areas.
- Faulty equipment – injuries from gym accidents caused by poorly maintained equipment are likely to be put down to the negligence of the gym owner. Accidents caused by a defect in the equipment itself are more likely to be the fault of the manufactures. Either way, there may be the possibility of bringing a successful claim for personal injury compensation against the gym owner or the manufacturer of faulty equipment.
- When gym instructors provide bad advice on how to carry out a particular form of exercise or use a specific type of equipment. Gym staff ought to make sure their clients do not overexert themselves and know how to use each piece of equipment they work on safely.
- Failure to provide an adequate induction session to new members may lead to a gym accident claim from a gym user suffering an injury due to not being shown how to use the equipment properly.
Most of us will have been through the process where we join a new gym and are required to follow the trainer around whilst we are shown the basics of using the equipment.
Many gyms are moving away from formal inductions because many newcomers have already been gym members. For this reason, ongoing staff engagement with members to ensure they know what they are doing is even more crucial.
If a gym member gets injured because they did not know how to use the gym equipment properly, the gym owner could find themselves on the wrong end of a costly legal case.
What types of injury are caused by gym accidents?
According to a survey of gym accidents carried out in 2017, the most common injury is a sprained ankle. Other types of gym injury, the cause of which could in whole or part be due to failings on the part of the gym management, include:
- Broken limbs – from falling off machinery; trips, slips or fall accidents
- Strained and pulled muscles
- Ligament, tendon and joint damage
- Head injuries from falling objects – caused by weights or exercise equipment.
What about the injury waiver clause in the gym contract I signed– am I not bound by it?
You’ll probably know the type of clause we mean. When you are given a contract by the new gym you want to join, you will find an injury waiver clause amongst the other terms and conditions. Basically, it will stipulate that if you suffer an injury whilst at the gym, no matter how it was caused, you won’t be able to make a personal injury claim against the gym owners.
Thankfully the Unfair Contract Terms Act (UCTA) comes to your aid if you get injured in a gym accident that was the fault of the gym owner. UCTA provides that the gym cannot restrict their liability for injury or death resulting from their negligence.
So, if you get injured in an accident at the gym, and you think it was the fault of the gym owners, do not be put off from claiming because you believe you signed away your rights when you joined the gym.
Instead, call Mooneerams solicitors for legal advice on 029 2048 3615. Don’t worry, we won’t charge you for the call and neither will we put pressure on you to pursue a claim if you are not yet ready or simply don’t want to.
You can’t claim for all gym accidents
As responsible personal injury solicitors, we can’t finish this article without stressing that not every gym accident will lead to a claim against the gym. For the gym owners to be responsible for your accident and therefore be liable to pay you compensation (via their insurance company), they must have been negligent in some way.
Whether a gym is responsible for an accident involving one of its members is not always straightforward to assess. That is why seeking out the advice of an experienced personal injury claims solicitor is a must for anyone injured in a gym accident.
Mooneerams solicitors offer free initial telephone advice to anyone who wants to see whether they have a claim or not following an accident in the gym.
Our friendly team of lawyers will listen to you and give straightforward advice as to whether they think you have a claim or not. If we feel you have good prospects of making a claim and you decide to go ahead, in most cases, we can handle gym accident claims on a No Win No Fee basis. It’s a great way of funding a claim and means you’ll have nothing to lose if your claim is not successful!
Call Mooneerams – the personal injury solicitors – now on 029 2048 3615 or fill in your details in the form on this page and click the button to send them to us. We’ll call you back to discuss.