Personal Injury Lawsuits for Gym Accidents in California
When gym owners, trainers, or equipment manufacturers are negligent, gym injuries are a possible result. You or a loved one may be entitled to compensation and damages for your gym injury.
Under California's personal injury law, if you suffer an injury due to negligence in a fitness facility, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the parties who are responsible.
Further, gym members might also be able to file a defective product lawsuit against an equipment manufacturer if their injuries were the caused by faulty equipment.
Many gym injuries result in a significant financial burden due to the medical expenses for treatment and lost wages from work. If you or a family member suffered an injury at a California gym, then a lawsuit for negligence could be your next step.
However, before moving forward with a lawsuit, there are some important factors to consider.
These include where the accident occurred, type of injury, whether there was a liability waiver, and if negligent actions by the gym staff and owners caused your damages.
It's in your best interest to get assistance from a personal injury lawyer who has experience handling gym accident injury cases in California.
For more detailed information, our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys are reviewing the law below.
Common Reasons for Gym Injuries
After you sustained an injury at a gym, you might not even know the exact cause of the accident or who can be held responsible. In many cases, multiple reasons contributed to the accident causing your injuries.
Some of the most common reasons that cause California gym injuries include:
- Defective or broken equipment,
- Improper maintenance,
- Unsafe gym conditions,
- Negligence by gym employees,
- Negligence by a fitness trainer,
- Slip and fall injuries near the pool;
- Trip and fall over equipment;
- Treadmill or Stairmaster injuries;
- Exercise bike injuries;
- Exercise ball or resistance band injuries;
- Weightlifting injuries;
Further, there could be issues with faulty equipment, which would fall under the umbrella of product liability.
Perhaps there were issues with the gym owners not maintaining safe conditions, which could fall under premises liability.
Under the state of California negligence laws, the party who was negligent can be held liable for injuries caused to another person.
Common Injuries in Gyms
Accidents in fitness centers and gyms cause a wide range of injuries. Most will heal with treatment, but some are more serious or even permanent, including:
- Head and neck injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Broken bones;
- Crushing injuries;
- Eye and facial injuries;
- Back injuries;
- Scarring and disfigurement.
Can You Sue for a Gym Accident in California?
Put simply, to recover damages after a gym accident, you will need to prove the party whom you want to sue was negligent. You may sue for a gym accident in California if:
- The liable party owed you a duty of care;
- The liable party breached their duty of care;
- The liable party's breach of the duty of care caused your accident;
- You can prove your losses.
The above steps are the conditions to prove negligence. Per the American Bar Association (ABA), a liable party did not have to mean to injure you.
They must only have failed to take reasonable steps to protect you from harm. This is negligence, and it is generally grounds for you to receive compensation.
Who Can You Sue for a Gym Accident?
You can sue anyone whose negligence caused you harm. This includes anyone who directly caused your injuries or anyone who didn't properly follow safety procedures. This may include any of the following:
- The manufacturer of defective gym equipment;
- A personal trainer who gave dangerous advice;
- Gym facility employees;
- A trainer who took direct action that caused you harm;
- The owners, renters, or lessee of a facility where you suffered an injury;
- A fellow gym member;
- Any third-party whose negligence caused your gym injury.
We may first examine the actions of the owners, renters, or lessees of the business where you suffered an injury.
California Code of Civil Procedure § 1714(a) requires that all property owners maintain a safe premise:
“Everyone is responsible...for an injury occasioned to another by their want of ordinary care or skill in the management of their property or person…”
Furthermore, California's respondeat superior rule makes it clear that an employer is liable for the negligent acts of their employees:
“The rule of respondeat superior is familiar and simply stated: an employer is vicariously liable for the torts of its employees committed within the scope of the employment.”
The gym owner may be solely responsible, jointly responsible, or not responsible at all for your injuries. Every case requires careful analysis to determine liability.
The gym facility could be held liable for negligence if the accident was caused by a lack of proper training or supervision of employees, or there was negligent hiring.
Your personal trainer could be held responsible for your gym injury if they were negligent or reckless in causing the accident.
Put simply, if a personal trainer instructs you to do something that another reasonable personal trainer wouldn't suggest, they might be held liable for any injuries you're suffered.
The issue of what is “reasonable” would need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in a similar situation.
What Are Examples of Negligence Resulting in a Gym Injury?
Owners and operators of a fitness-focused business must ensure that their property is safe. They may be negligent if they:
- Knowingly install or fail to replace faulty equipment;
- Fail to monitor and remove slipping and tripping hazards;
- Hire unqualified employees;
- Fail to monitor employees for drug and alcohol use;
- Fail to properly train employees about safety protocols;
- Fail to hire enough staff to supervise the property and customers;
- Fail to provide a safe gym.
The relevant question is what is “reasonable” for an owner, employee, or another party to ensure the customer's safety.
A gym owner may be responsible for a 15-year-old weight machine that malfunctions and causes customer harm.
In other instances, a product manufacturer may be liable. If equipment is brand-new and yet malfunctions, then the manufacturer may have sole responsibility for your losses.
What Compensation Can You Receive After a Gym Injury?
The damages that are available for a California gym injury lawsuit will depend on the serious nature of the accident. Damages typically include financial losses or harm caused by the accident, along with non-economic damages.
Put simply, your injuries and injury-related losses will dictate what is fair compensation. You may receive financial coverage for:
- Medical bills and treatment;
- Hospital Emergency room bills;
- Prescription medication costs;
- Lost income;
- Loss of earning power;
- Loss of consortium;
- Rehabilitation costs
- Physical therapy;
- Scarring or disfigurement;
- Pain and suffering.
Permanent disabilities may be particularly costly. They can prevent you from working and cause immense pain and suffering.
Can You Receive Coverage for a Fatal Gym Injury?
Generally, yes. If your loved one passed away from injuries that they suffered in a gym, then you may file a wrongful death lawsuit. For a successful wrongful death case, you may receive coverage for:
- The deceased's medical bills;
- Loss of consortium,
- Pain and suffering;
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- Loss of financial protection.
You may receive coverage for any other losses related to a loved one's wrongful death.
How Long Do You Have to File a Case?
This depends on the type of case that you intend to bring. The California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1 explains that you generally have:
- Two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit;
- Two years to file a personal injury lawsuit.
There are nuances and exceptions to these statutes. In any case, you will want to act quickly to file your case on time.
Your lawsuit or claim may become ineligible if you wait too long to file. This may result in you losing compensation that you may have otherwise collected.
If you or a loved one suffered some type of gym accident injury in California, you might be eligible to file a claim for significant monetary compensation for damages.
When you are pursuing legal action against a gym owner, you will need a personal injury attorney on your side who premises liability laws related to gym injuries.
At Injury Justice Law Firm, we will guide you through the process from filing a claim to collecting compensation.
If you have any questions about fitness center or gym accident lawsuits, contact our law firm for a free confidential consultation at (818) 781-1570.