What would you do if a television fell on your head at the gym? Take the owners of the gym to court, right? Once you do, you may find that you have unwittingly signed away your right to hold them liable. In this article, a gym injury lawyer California explains how an Orange County man failed to protect himself from the dangers hidden in his gym liability release waiver and suffered the consequences described above.
Signing a liability release waiver is often the first step to joining a gym. By doing so, you waive your right to seek compensation from the gym should you suffer injuries or property loss or damage. Considering yourself competent enough to use the gym equipment, you sign the liability waiver. You may, however, be releasing the gym from more liability than you had anticipated.
Recently, an Orange County man sought the help of a gym injury lawyer California after suffering an injury at his gym. The injury, however, did not occur while he was exercising but, rather, in the moments beforehand. As with any other day, he intended on using the elliptical machine. On this particular day, however, he noticed that the overhead television on which he usually watched the news while working out had been turned away from him. He reached for the rack supporting the television. The machine suddenly slid toward him. In his attempt to support the television, he severely injured his knee.
The gym injury had a devastating effect on the man’s life: the pain prevented him from working, and the lost wages left him unable to pay his bills, causing him to fall into debt. With unpaid bills piling up and no savings, the man found medical care to be prohibitively expensive. He decided to take the owner’s of the gym to court, hoping that he would win his case and be able to pay for medical care with the compensation.
Unfortunately, he lost the case. The liability release waiver he signed when he joined the gym exempted the gym from responsibility for his injuries and property loss or damage while he was on the gym’s premises, whether he was using exercise equipment of not. He argued in court that the liability release waiver must be reasonably related to the purpose of the release, i.e., fitness. According to the law, however, it did not matter whether the risk of injury was inherent in the recreational activity to which the release applied, but rather the scope of the release. The provision releasing the gym owners from liability while the man was on the gym premises was unambiguously written and conspicuous in the document, which, according to the court, exempted the gym owners from responsibility for the man’s injuries even though he was not exercising when they occurred.
While such inclusive liability releases are unfair, gyms often use them. When joining a gym, take precautions to ensure you have legal recourse in case of an injury: draw lines through portions of the release that exempt the gym from “any and all negligence” and refuse to initial next to such provisions. If the gym insists you sign the release as it is, take your business elsewhere. Refusing to accept unfair liability releases may eventually force gyms to stop using them.
James Ballidis is a gym injury lawyer California. He has extensive experience with injuries resulting from dangerous gym equipment and other types of gym accidents. For more articles on gym accidents, or if you wish to obtain a copy of his books, call 1 (866) 981-5596 or click here. You can also visit his website to read more about personal injury cases: http://www.thecaliforniainjurylawyer.com