January is the prime busy season for gyms, fitness centers and yoga studios across Northeast Ohio. The December holidays offer boundless opportunities for us all to rejoice—and often, rejoicing involves consumption of alcohol, sweets and assorted high-cholesterol, high-carbohydrate foods that add smiles to our faces, and pounds to our waistlines and hips.
And so we trek to the gym, or the Pilates class, or the yoga studio, our New Year’s resolutions still fresh in our minds. While the general idea is to get in shape, too often accidents occur that cause serious injuries and even lasting damage. Indeed, gyms and fitness centers in particular are stocked with dangerous equipment, and they are hotbeds of bacteria-laden mats and slippery surfaces. Amidst it all are people running, lifting weights, operating exercise machines, and moving about with sometimes reckless disregard for others around them.
In this type of environment, given these variables, accidents and injuries are bound to happen—and they do. Every day, thousands of people are treated in emergency rooms across the country for injuries stemming from sports, recreation, and exercise. In 2012 alone, it is estimated that 459,978 people were injured while exercising or using exercise equipment. And according to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (a database maintained by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission), injuries caused by exercise and exercise equipment increased nearly 45% between 2007 and 2010. Among types of exercise equipment, treadmills caused the most injuries, according to media reports based on the findings of the commission.
It’s not just treadmills that are causing injuries, though. Between 1990 and 2007, over 970,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for weight training-related injuries. During this time period, 114 people died from using free weights and weight machines.
Most tragically, exercise equipment is estimated to cause injuries to about 16,500 children between ages 5 and 14 each year.
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While fitness centers owe their members and visitors a duty of care to not be negligent and keep them relatively safe from foreseeable injuries, requisite measures and precautions aren’t always taken to prevent fitness center accidents from occurring.
Many injuries result from poorly maintained equipment and common areas, and general negligence of management and ownership. While it seems reasonable to assume that members and guests of fitness facilities could file lawsuits and insurance claims to protect their rights and compensate for their losses, the reality is actually quite different.
Nearly all fitness centers require new members to sign contracts that contain waivers of liability, which essentially prohibit members and their guests from filing legal action against ownership or management of the fitness center. These contracts are drafted by attorneys for the express purpose of shielding the fitness facility from liability.
An experienced personal injury attorney can assist you in evaluating and analyzing the circumstances surrounding your injury and determining whether any exceptions to the waiver may exist that might work to your benefit. Finally, in cases where exceptions or other extenuating circumstances may exist, an experienced personal injury attorney can represent your best interests in holding those responsible for your injuries accountable, and obtaining just and fair compensation to help you rebuild your life.
If you’ve been injured in a gym, fitness facility, or Pilates or yoga studio, your first course of action is to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Based on the circumstances of your injury, it may also be highly advisable to contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
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If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a gym, fitness center or Pilates/yoga studio accident, your rights are at stake—you need to seek immediate legal advice. At Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A., our personal injury attorneys may be able to help you pursue compensation for the pain and suffering that you have been forced to endure. The experienced personal injury lawyers at NRS are highly knowledgeable in personal injury litigation, including fitness center and exercise-related injuries. We fight side by side with injured victims to make sure they and their families receive compensation for negligence that caused them to be hurt. We will aggressively pursue your case and work to help you obtain the medical care and compensation you need to rebuild your life.
In the event you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a gym, fitness center or Pilates/yoga studio accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at NRS Injury Law by filling out our No-Risk Consultation form, or call (855) GOT-HURT and speak with one of our trained staff members.