But a gym, with its weighty specialist equipment and their plethora of moving parts, is not without its hazards, and gym injuries can and do occur. Although a good gym workout might leave you with aching muscles, if that initial ache does not wear off quickly it may take a while to identify a more serious injury, such as a torn ligament or tendon, or a broken bone. On rare occasions, a severe accident in a gym can result in brain or spinal injury.
Claire Simon, Partner in the personal injury team with QualitySolicitors Parkinson Wright explains the common causes of gym injuries and outlines how you might go about claiming compensation if you are hurt in a gym accident or suffer an injury which was not your fault.
Common causes of gym injuries
Accidents can happen because of::
- faulty or poorly maintained equipment;
- hazards being left on the floor, such as free weights or spillages;
- loose or frayed mats; or
- weights being dropped on part of your body such as your head, chest or feet.
Injuries can also occur because of:
- wrong advice given by gym staff on how to use machinery or how to do a workout; or
- inadequate supervision given by gym staff during your exercise sessions.
Does the gym owe you a duty of care?
Gym owners and all gym staff have a duty under health and safety laws to do everything reasonable to keep you safe. If they breach this duty and you are injured as a result – such as a gym instructor pushing you beyond your capabilities and leaving you with an injury – they could be found to be negligent and you might have a valid claim for compensation.
This duty of care would include the gym staff making sure that:
- all the equipment is checked on a regular basis to ensure it is fit for purpose;
- regular risk assessments are carried out to ensure threats to your safety are minimised;
- all staff are properly trained and qualified so they can provide you with the right advice and supervision;
- each new member fills out a health questionnaire;
- the gym floor space is clear of hazards;
- you know how to use the equipment, through tuition or suitable signage;
- appropriate dress code policies are introduced and followed; and
- the equipment is wiped clean and put away after use.
What proof is required?
You can help your personal injury lawyer to strengthen your claim by collating evidence at the time of your accident and afterwards. This would include: photographs of the accident scene and your injuries; a copy of your entry in the accident log book; any available CCTV; details of medical treatment you have received; contact details of any witnesses to the accident; a written account of the impact this accident has had on you; a list of all the expenditure you have had to make as a result of your injuries; and details of any loss of earnings.
Of course, a gym session can be tough and it may not always be obvious that you have sustained an injury – you might at first write it off as the normal achiness associated with a good workout. In this case, of course, you might not make an entry in the accident book and your GP might not be able to come to an accurate diagnosis straightaway.
Fortunately, although you have three years under the Limitation Act 1980 from the date of your accident to bring a claim for compensation; if the extent of your injury is not immediately obvious, the three-year limitation period begins to run from the time you receive an accurate diagnosis.
In addition, if you do not appreciate the extent of your injuries for some time and all the usual forms of evidence are not readily available, your personal injury lawyer will refer you to a medical expert who will assess the cause of your injuries and the effect they have had on your life. The expert will then produce a report which will help strengthen your case.
How else can a solicitor help?
If you have been injured while at your gym and it was not your fault and you would like to claim compensation, it is very important to get in touch with a specialist personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Evidence is easier to come by and the events leading up to the accident will still be fresh in your mind and in the minds of everyone else involved.
Your lawyer will quickly assess whether you have a valid case and if you do, will take on all the stress involved in bringing your claim. They will fill out all the necessary paperwork, help you gather evidence and ensure you get all the rehabilitation you need.
Once all the available evidence is gathered, your solicitor will present this to the other party to try to negotiate a fair out-of-court settlement.
If the other side denies responsibility, or your case is particularly complicated or of high value, your case may have to go to court. Your lawyer will be with you, offering advice and representation, every step of the way.
For further information, please contact Claire Simon in the personal injury team on 01905 721600 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.