Like most business institutions, operators of gyms and/or health clubs owe a duty of reasonable care to its members while on the premises. For instance, the staff employed by the gym are required to inspect the facilities and equipment for any conditions that may pose a danger to visiting members.
According to a tort principle known as negligence theory, a business operator that fails to warn visiting members of dangerous conditions on its premises can be held legally responsible for any injuries incurred by its members as a result of those dangerous conditions.
In order to recover under a negligence theory, a gym goer would need to prove that the operator of the gym or health club facility failed to inspect the premises, which in turn, caused their injuries.
However, there is one issue that frequently comes up when a gym member attempts to hold a gym accountable for injuries received on the premises and it is that most gym and health club facilities require that a member sign a waiver or liability release form. Oftentimes, these waivers and liability release forms will contain a provision that states that a member will be using a certain facility at their own risk.
In addition, some waiver liability forms will include a statement that limits a member’s ability to sue the gym operator for injuries sustained on the premises. Thus, it is extremely important for gym goers to review such waiver forms very carefully before signing them. While a liability release form may limit your ability to file a lawsuit, they cannot be used to release a gym proprietor from the duty of care that they owe to their members under the law.
What If I Have Developed a Skin Infection Due to Unsanitary Gym Conditions?
One issue that seems to be an increasing concern among patrons who frequent gym and/or health club establishments is the issue of skin infections. Skin conditions can appear for a number of reasons. For instance, they may be caused by unsanitary conditions like in a gym’s bathroom, locker room, sauna, spa area, swimming pool, and/or any other locations on the premises where moisture is usually trapped.
If these particular areas are not maintained and properly sanitized periodically, then this could cause gym members to develop widespread skin infections. However, it can be extremely difficult to prove that a gym operator is liable for causing a skin infection due to ineffective maintenance practices since it is often hard to trace the exact source of a skin infection. Accordingly, without proper evidence, it can be tough to recover damages in such instances.
On the other hand, there are some factors that can help a gym patron to prove that the source of their skin infection was caused by improper upkeep at a gym facility. These factors can include:
- If the conditions of a gym or health club facility are either visibly unsuitable or unsanitary, then this could serve as evidence that the business breached their duty of care to its members. This is especially true if the unsanitary conditions fail to satisfy the requirements mandated by local business ordinances or violate local health and safety codes.
- If several members are suffering from the same conditions or symptoms, then this could be grounds to initiate a class action lawsuit. For instance, if the source of many of the gym goers’ symptoms can be traced back to bacteria or mold growing on their gym’s premises, then this may be a strong indicator that all of the affected member’s symptoms were caused by the gym’s unsanitary conditions.
- If a gym or health club facility has failed to provide certain sanitary products, such as soaps or disinfectants, then this may also serve as evidence that the facility has neglected its duty of care to its members or that it has behaved in a reckless manner towards the health, safety, and well-being of its members.
- If gym personnel are either aware of or have been informed about an unsanitary or unsafe condition at a facility, but failed to take the property steps to remedy the situation, then this could also be used as evidence to support that a facility has behaved in a reckless or negligent manner.
While the above list provides many of the common factors that previously affected gym goers have experienced, it is by no means an exhaustive list of evidence that can be submitted as proof that a health club facility has been negligent in upkeeping their premises.
Regardless of whether a factor matches one of the elements provided in the above list or is a separate issue, a gym member should be sure to collect written accounts, contact information for other affected gym members, and any other documents that support that they reported an issue to the gym staff (including dates if possible).
Finally, one other related issue in regard to unsanitary conditions at health club facilities is that of toxic mold exposure. Toxic mold can be very dangerous to anyone who comes into contact with it. In general, toxic mold particles are spread throughout the air and can lead to serious respiratory illnesses and severe skin infections.
In many instances, mold spores are typically circulated through items like heating vents or air conditioning systems that are not properly cleaned on a regular basis. If a health club member or gym patron is experiencing symptoms of toxic mold exposure, such as having trouble breathing, they should contact their primary care doctor right away to receive medical treatment.
Persons who have been affected by mold conditions should also consider contacting a personal injury lawyer for further legal advice. A lawyer will be able to determine if their circumstances warrant filing a lawsuit and can recommend other options of legal recourse based on the unique facts of their situation.
Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer for Injuries Sustained at a Gym?
As discussed above, skin conditions are especially difficult to trace back to health club institutions. Thus, this can be problematic when a person is trying to collect damages or hold their gym facility accountable for unsanitary conditions.
Therefore, if you are a member of a gym or health club and have been experiencing symptoms of a medical condition that could potentially be traced back to your health club facility, then you should contact a local personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to assess your situation and can determine whether or not it may be possible for you to recover damages for your injuries.
Your attorney will also be able to help you file a lawsuit against your gym or health club and can assist you in hiring the right medical experts to testify on your behalf. Such experts may be necessary to prove that your injury or illness can be traced back to your health club facility. Additionally, your attorney can discuss your options for legal recourse and will be able to explain how the laws in your jurisdiction may affect the outcome of your case.
Finally, if you are aware of other members at your gym that may be suffering the same symptoms, you should inform your attorney, so that they can figure out if it might make more sense to file a class action lawsuit for your injuries. If so, your attorney can also assist you in initiating a class action lawsuit as well.