Joining a gym, fitness club, yoga center, or any other exercise establishment is a great way to get healthy and lose weight. Yet when injuries occur, you may be in a difficult position. Filing a Chester, South Carolina, personal gym injury claim against any kind of gym or fitness center is an uphill battle. There are plenty of hazards, including unsafe equipment, unsanitary surfaces, and the various injuries that can occur from pushing your body to the limits in the pursuit of health. But you may find that there are more obstacles to pursuing a personal gym injury claim in these environments than you would imagine.
While working out may cause injuries that rest on your own shoulders, there are plenty of ways that the negligence of the facility could cause injuries too. A broken machine or a piece of equipment that is not properly cleaned could lead to serious injuries and illness. The trouble is that you have to sign a lot of paperwork when you join a gym or start using a fitness facility. And among those papers, often hidden in a stack between payment agreements and contracts, you’ll find a liability waiver. They aren’t likely to bring your attention to it, so there’s a good chance that you’ve signed one without even knowing that you did so, which could leave you holding the bill for your injuries.
How the Liability Waiver that You Signed Could Leave You Without Compensation for Injuries
Before you can start working out in any kind of gym environment, you are likely to be required to sign a contract and a liability waiver with that gym. The liability waiver will usually include technical legal language, but the idea is that you cannot hold the gym owner accountable for any injuries that may occur. Because there are so many other things to sign when you join a gym or sign up for an exercise class, many people completely miss the waiver and unaware of what they have signed. Following is an example of a common gym liability waiver:
I hereby acknowledge that the training, programs and events held by NAME OF GYM may expose me to many inherent risks, including accidents, injury, illness, or even death. I assume all risk of injuries associated with participation including, but not limited to, falls, contact with other participants, the effects of the weather, including high heat and/or humidity, and all other such risks being known and appreciated by me. After having read this waiver and knowing these facts, and in consideration of acceptance of my participation and the NAME OF GYM furnishing services to me, I agree, for myself and anyone entitled to act on my behalf, to HOLD HARMLESS, WAIVE AND RELEASE the NAME OF GYM, its officers, agents, employees, organizers, representatives, and successors from any responsibility, liabilities, demands, or claims of any kind arising out of my participation in the NAME OF GYM training, programs and/or events. My signature indicates that I have read and understand this Waiver of Liability. I am aware that this is a waiver and a release of liability and I voluntarily agree to its terms.
You should notice multiple things about this waiver:
- It is a long paragraph, unlikely to be read.
- It covers just about anything that could happen at the gym.
- It ensures that you take full responsibility for any accidents that may occur.
- It specifies that you cannot sue anyone associated with the gym for any gym injury.
- It states that your signature indicates that you have read, understood and agreed, though they will not discuss or encourage you to actually read and understand what you are signing.
- It also ensures that if you pass away, nobody can sue on your behalf.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Gym or Fitness Center Waiver of Liability in Chester, South Carolina?
Finding exceptions to the gym or fitness center liability waiver is a difficult process, but not impossible. It is something that you may not succeed in if you try to tear it apart yourself. Thus, it is a good idea to get a copy of everything you’ve signed when joining a gym or fitness center, and read it carefully when you have more time to do so. Further, if you do become injured or ill through the negligence of the facility, you should bring a copy of everything you signed to meet with a Chester, South Carolina, personal gym injury attorney. If anyone can find exceptions to the liability waiver, it is a good lawyer.
Sometimes, there are exceptions because of language that is vague or ambiguous, which is why the example above clearly involved an effort to clarify every possible situation, even specifying the potential for gym injury related specifically to weather conditions like heat and humidity. Then, there are cases where gross negligence, such as a reckless disregard for safety on the part of the facility, could allow for the liability waiver to be set aside and for a lawsuit to proceed. To find out if and how you might be able to recover compensation from a gym or fitness center regarding a personal injury claim, contact the attorneys at the Elrod Pope Law Firm and schedule a free consultation.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.