We go to the gym to get in shape, stay in shape, and stretch our limits. But intense workouts, unprofessional trainers, and complicated gym equipment can stretch us too far. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates that there are over 1,500 emergency room visits each year due to gym injuries, and more than 50,000 injuries every year from home-fitness equipment.
This month, A California woman filed lawsuit against the fitness class company SoulCycle for an ankle injury. In June of 2014, Carman Farias took a class at her local SoulCycle as part of a corporate event for her work. Though Farias had never attended a spinning class before, the gym's employees did not educate Farias about how to use the bike, and how to get off the bike.
During the class Farias felt her legs weaken, so she tried to stop pedaling. The instructor ridiculed Farias for stopping and yelled “we don't take breaks.” Embarrassed that she was being teased in front of bosses and co-workers, Farias attempted to keep cycling and even pick up her pace. Legs shaking, she became overly fatigued and disoriented, and fell off the saddle of her bike and the spinning pedals dislocated her ankle. Farias didn't know how to unclip her feet from the pedals, and wasn't warned that the pedals would continue to spin when she stopped pedaling.
Farias' lawsuit alleges that SoulCycle failed to follow its own policy of providing a 15-minute introduction to the bikes and teaching riders how to safely stop pedaling.
Risk of Injury at the Gym
The most common gym injuries include malfunctioning workout equipment, improper instruction of weightlifting machines, infections from shared gym equipment, and general workout injuries from unqualified trainers.
Last fall, a third-grader in New York was almost blinded in one eye when a classmate let go of one end of the exercise band the boy was using in gym class. The case claimed that the students were not taught about potential dangers of the bands and were not provided with protective eye gear.
In December of 2010, a woman in New York was awarded $19.5 million from Cybex International Inc. for a severe, permanent injury. Natalie Bernhard was stretching on a classic leg extension machine when the machine fell on her, leaving her quadriplegic.
Personal Injury lawsuits against gyms are often complicated because patrons must sign some kind of waiver before accepting a gym membership. These waivers will include language about patrons being aware of the risks of working out with equipment, and declaring that the patron “willingly assumes” these risks. Waivers may also include language about releasing the gym, its employees, and its owners from all liability for injuries at the gym.
But no matter the language used in the waiver, gyms, their employees, and their owners can all still be held accountable for negligence if that negligence caused a serious injury. If, for example, a gym employee knew about defective equipment and failed to take action before the equipment hurt somebody, the employee can be held accountable for injuries.
Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury at a gym, you may be eligible for compensation. Call our offices today for a free consultation and to learn more about your legal options.