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Written by: J. Todd Tenge

Premises Liability and Gyms: What Are Your Rights in Colorado?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

When you go to the gym, you do so with the understanding that the facility is properly managed and all equipment is safe to use. However, weights and dumbbells could easily break a bone, treadmills can send you flying backward, and any equipment left out on the floor can be a tripping hazard. Sadly, many gyms hide behind liability waivers when someone is injured, although they may not be as full-proof as they appear. Thus, you may be wondering, can you hold a gym liable for your injuries?

How Gym Accidents Occur

Well, the answer depends. If there was an act of negligence, then yes. If there wasn’t, then most likely no, although there may be expectations. An act of negligence is when a person, perhaps the gym owner, manager, or your trainer, fails to exercise the level of care and caution that an otherwise reasonable person would. When it comes to gyms, this could be characterized by a few examples.

Example One: Say that you have decided to do some cardio for the day. You get on a treadmill that has no indications it is not functioning properly, turn it on, and hop on. Suddenly the machine picks up speed far faster than you can keep up with. You trip over your own feet, slam your head into the rail of the treadmill, and fall off the machine. Naturally, this can result in catastrophic injuries. It then comes out that the manager knew there was an issue with that treadmill, but neither had it fixed nor had it marked as out of order. In this case, you would be well within your rights to file a claim.

Example Two: You are walking around the gym, trying to decide what you want to do today. Unbeknownst to you, one of the pipes in the ceiling has a leak, creating a wet spot on the floor. You walk over it and slip and fall, slamming your head into the hard ground and sustaining a brain injury. Later, you learn that employees at the gym knew that there was a leak but didn’t feel it was important to place a wet floor sign down or call for maintenance to have the issue fixed. Again, because any reasonable manager or employee would have made patrons aware of the issue and then had the pipe fixed, your injuries came as a result of negligence, and so you are within your rights to file a claim, waiver or not.

Gym Injuries and Liability

Who you can hold liable for your gym injuries will depend on what exactly happened and how your injuries were actually caused. In our experience, the most common liable parties for gym accidents are:

Property owner: Property owners have a responsibility to keep guests and patrons safe while on the property. This means making sure all equipment is safe to use, guests are aware of any dangers, and the staff is attentive to safety hazards.

Trainer: Your trainer actually could be the responsible party if they were negligent during a training session. A trainer should always take your thresholds into consideration when showing you specific exercises or how to use certain equipment. For example, if the trainer instructed you to lift far too much weight, resulting in your sustaining serious arm injuries, then your trainer would be liable.

Employees: If an employee does not properly warn guests of potential danger, call maintenance to fix the issue, or inform a manager, then they could be found liable alongside the gym’s owner. Employers are legally responsible for the actions of their employees while those employees are on the clock. This means that if an employee was the one responsible for your injuries, then you can still file a claim against the employer.

Other gym-goers: Your injury may have been the result of someone else working out at the gym. Perhaps they dropped a dumbbell on your foot, breaking it. Either way, gym patrons and guests are required to uphold a duty of care towards those in the gym with them. If they neglect to do that, then you can file a claim against them.

How to Hold a Gym Accountable

Holding a gym liable can be difficult. You will need to establish negligence, especially in the face of a liability waiver. While these waivers are not absolute, you will need to clearly prove how the owner is at fault for your injuries and to do that, you will need evidence. That could include talking to eyewitnesses, getting security footage, or taking pictures of the scene of the accident.

Using this evidence, you will need to piece together the narrative that the property owner or manager did not take proper care of the facilities, or at least did not exert the level of care that a reasonable person would, and so were negligent in their behavior. You should then go on to show that the negligence led directly to your injuries.

Doing all of this can be stressful for the average person, let alone when you’re also trying to heal from serious injuries. That is why the best way to hold a gym accountable is to work with an experienced Boulder premises liability attorney. At our firm, Tenge Law Firm, LLC, we have worked with countless clients injured due to a property owner’s negligence and lack of regard for others. We have seen the injuries, and we are tired of them. That is why we are dedicated to helping those who have suffered serious injuries due to someone else’s negligence. For excellent legal help, call (303) 665-2929 today to discuss your case in a free consultation. We have offices in Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins.

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