In a legal claim for personal injury, a plaintiff claims that they have sustained an injury due to an act or failure to act by the defendant. This injury may be either mental, physical, or both. In response, a court may award the plaintiff money damages for personal injury, which is intended to compensate the victim for monetary losses they have experienced as a result of the injurious incident.
There are some circumstances in which the events that form the basis of a personal injury claim may also form the basis of criminal charges. An example of this would be how a defendant may face a civil lawsuit for assault, as well as a criminal charge for assault and battery charge.
To reiterate, a personal injury damages a plaintiff’s emotional health, physical health, or both. Examples of mental health injuries include emotional pain and anguish sustained by an accident. Examples of physical injuries include injuries to organs, limbs, or other parts of the anatomy. Additionally, the injury sustained by a personal injury plaintiff does not need to manifest itself instantly, as such injuries may develop over time.
There are several different types of events or accidents which may form the basis of a personal injury claim, including:
- Accidents and injuries;
- Construction accidents;
- Dog bites and animal attacks;
- Defective products (class action);
- Elder abuse;
- Nursing home abuse;
- Premises liability;
- Product liability injury;
- Toxic exposure (class action);
- Unsafe drugs (class action); and
- Wrongful death.
A personal injury may occur intentionally, such as when a defendant deliberately injures a victim. Another example of intentional personal injury would be when the defendant intends to commit an act that results in injury. Intentional injury more specifically occurs when a defendant commits battery, assault, and/or false imprisonment.
Additionally, a personal injury can occur unintentionally. If an unintentional injury is the result of someone’s negligence, the plaintiff may file a lawsuit based on the negligent behavior. Automobile accidents, slip and fall accidents, and injuries sustained from medical malpractice, are all common examples of negligence cases.
To further clarify, a negligence personal injury claim is one in which the plaintiff claims that a defendant injured the plaintiff as a result of breaching a duty of care that the defendant owed to the plaintiff. If a plaintiff can prove that this breach is what caused their injury, which then results in damages, the plaintiff has made out a successful claim for negligence.
The duty of care that is owed to a plaintiff largely depends on the circumstances, as well as the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant. A defendant is under a legal duty to exercise the same degree of care that an ordinary person would use under a specific set of facts.
An example of this would be how if a defendant is driving their vehicle on a highway in non-inclement weather, they have a duty to adhere to motor vehicle laws. However, if the defendant is driving their vehicle on a one-lane road and the weather is stormy and inclement, the defendant would owe a greater duty of care. What this means is that the defendant must exercise the degree of care considered to be appropriate for inclement weather. Examples of such care include driving at reduced speed, using windshield wipers, and using headlights and taillights.
Whether a duty of care to a plaintiff exists largely depends upon the foreseeability, or predictability, of harm that may result if the duty is not exercised. The test for whether a plaintiff is owed a duty of care questions whether an average person, in the position of the defendant, would foresee that the type of injury sustained by the plaintiff was likely to take place.
When the answer is yes, the defendant owes the plaintiff a duty of care. When the defendant breaches that duty which causes an injury resulting in damages, the defendant has committed personal injury through negligence. However, if the answer is no, no duty is owed and the defendant cannot have committed negligence.
What Are Some Gym Accident Statistics?
Gyms are places in which people go to improve their health and physical condition. In 2008, 45.5 million Americans owned gym memberships. Additionally, gyms are frequently open to non-members who want to tour the facilities before joining, or only want to attend for one day. As such, gyms are generally open to the public, and must ensure that their facility is reasonably safe for anyone who wishes to visit.
While gyms owe a duty of care to all of its members and visitors, to not be negligent and keep them relatively safe from any foreseeable injuries, gyms do not always take the requisite measures in order to prevent accidents from occurring. Gym accident statistics can be divided into two groups:
- Injuries from Weight Training and Exercise Equipment:
- In 2009, 1500 people were treated in the emergency room after being injured on equipment at gyms.
- Between 1990 and 2007, over 970,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for weight training-related injuries.
- From 1990 to 2007, 114 people died from using free weights and weight machines.
- It is estimated that 459,978 people were injured while exercising or using exercise equipment in 2012.
- Exercise equipment causes injuries to approximately 16,500 children annually, who are between 5 years old and 14 years old.
- General Gym Accident Statistics:
- A study published in 2013 states that there is a rate of 3.1 injuries for every 1,000 hours spent doing CrossFit training.
- Between May of 2011 and November of 2012, one Salt Lake City hospital treated 52 people who were injured at local jump gyms, and required more than one medical visit.
- Each day, there are more than 10,000 people treated in emergency rooms across the country for injuries resulting from sports, recreation, and exercise.
Are There Any Negligence Defenses That Would Apply To Gym Accidents?
There are a variety of defenses that may be used against an allegation of negligence, which could also apply to gym accidents. The most obvious would be to dispute any of the components of negligence in order to challenge whether negligence actually occurred.
Two related defenses are contributory and comparative negligence. Depending on state law, one or the other will apply, but the general idea is the same. Both defenses ask whether the person injured is in some way responsible for the injury that they suffered.
In contributory negligence jurisdictions, any negligence on the injury person is a total bar to recovery. What this means is that they get nothing. In a comparative negligence jurisdiction, the injured person can still recover. However, the recovery is reduced by how negligent they themselves were.
Assumption of risk is a defense that essentially asserts that the injured person knew they were doing something inherently dangerous, and chose to do it anyway. When this defense is successful, the defending party will not have to pay for damages. An example of this would be how skiing is an activity that everyone knows could result in breaking a leg, but people chose to ski anyway.
Do I Need A Lawyer For Help Suing For A Gym Accident?
An accident at a gym can result in considerably serious injuries. You should consult with a personal injury attorney who can assist you in obtaining compensation from those who are responsible for your injuries, especially in instances of negligence. Additionally, an experienced personal injury attorney will also be able to represent you in court, as needed.