Gym Liability for Injuries (Video Post)

Gym Liability for Injuries Video Transcription

Hector Quiroga with the Quiroga Law Office.

Today I would like to talk to you about gym liability for injuries or gym owner liability. People like to work out and when they go to the gym, the question is when they get injured what liability does the gym owner has?

Some order management has, what duties do they have to follow to ensure that their clients or customers are safe. Well, this is kind of a “to follow” question. One is typically, a smart gym owner would have a liability waiver or a disclaimer on which you would waive any claim against the gym owner for an injury that happens during a workout. So the first questions is, are these waivers, these waivers or liability, are they enforceable?

Number one, the waiver has to be done very carefully, very well drafted. It can’t just be a form that is sort of downloaded off the internet. It can be a form downloaded off the internet but if it is not applicable to the State of Washington or local laws, a good lawyer may be able to set it aside. Without that waiver the gym owner is fully liable on anything that happens because they have to protect the consumer from any foreseeable harm.

And anybody who is straining too much on a workout could–is foreseeable that they might get injured, that they might get strained, or they might pull their back, or whatever may be the case. So this waiver is sort of the gatekeeper in many ways, between the gym owner, the gym management, and their consumers. Now, there are requirements for the waiver of course, the one who signs it has to have capacity, not just age–18 or over, but they have to have capacity to sign, which most people do.

And one of the things that typically challenges a waiver is this appreciation of the risks. Can we appreciate how I am going to be injured? And I think in a reasonable way most of us can say, “Look, if you go to the gym and you’re working out, and you’re pushing, pushing, pushing, at some point certain injury is going to happen. ” If you’re pushing your boundaries outside the reasonable or the healthy standards, you’re going to hurt yourself. And we can almost see that happening where you’re pulling and maybe a muscle gets pulled or something like that. And that is something that I think we can all appreciate. So what are risk we cannot appreciate? Which would probably not only waiveable. One risk that is not appreciable–I guess before I go to that let’s talk about the all opposite, risks that we could have never seen.

Let’s say, the risk we talk about is an attack. Some sort of sexual harassment issue where a male customer attacks a female customer because she has tight pants, that type of thing. Well, that’s really outside of the waiver, the question is going to be, did the owner know about this situation? Did they take any steps, or did they not know at all? It was completely random, was just committal activity, or it was just a harassment that happened over and over and the gym owner failed to provide any safeguard for this type of thing. So that’s the all extreme where I think is like–boy! That’s outside of the appreciation of the risks. So where would then does the dispute begins is kind of like in the middle of road where we have those cases where somebody–the machine malfunctions and hurts somebody. They’re working, maybe the individual is working too hard, starting to push those healthy boundaries and the machine fails. And it just pulls back or it does something to injure you. Now, is that something that we can appreciate? And I’m inclined to say no.

Malfunction of the equipment is something that you really waive, you don’t say, “If the equipment malfunctions I’ll take all personal, you know, I wanna know how you’re liable. ” Again, if I work out and I overdo it and I get hurt, I can see that. But malfunctioning of the equipment, that’s one thing–what it means to use the equipment? When somebody is working out in a way that the equipment is not meant to do, or meant to be used in those terms, can the person then later go back against the gym owner? Is there Gym liability for injuries? The question is maybe. Maybe, why maybe?

Because if the gym owner takes a lot of time explaining that they are going to provide say, classes where they are going to have people helping with other things, showing you how the equipment works, all of these stuff are–then maybe. Maybe is past that waiver point. Again, for gym owner they would have to have very solid waiver. Make sure that it works but it doesn’t totally disclaim in a 100% of any duty to the clients. They have to still provide a safe workout environment because that’s what they’ve been hired to do.

That’s what you pay a gym to do, is to provide a safe environment. Does that mean that you can go against the gym owner at any minute? No, you’ve got to get past the waiver. Now, if there’s no waiver because there were a paper issue or somebody forgot to sign it, then obviously it doesn’t hold for a thing. But there is liability there, I supposed. Could, can be blocked or can be defended, that’s the question of the waiver.

My name is Hector Quiroga with the Quiroga Law Office, and if you have any questions about gym liability for injuries, please call me at 509-927-3840. Thank you.

Gym liability for injuries and other requirements.
RCW 19.142.030: Written Contract Required.

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