As with any business institution, operators of gyms or health clubs
owe a duty of reasonable care to its members with regards to its premises. The gym staff is required to inspect the facilities for the purpose of discovering conditions that may be dangerous to its patrons.
According to the tort principles of negligence
, a failure to correct dangerous conditions or warn members of dangerous conditions could result in legal liability for the operator. In order to recover under a negligence theory, the patron would need to prove that the gym operator’s failure to inspect the premises was the actual cause of their injuries.
However, one area of concern is that most gym memberships involve the signing of a waiver or liability release form. These forms often state that the patron will be using the facilities at their own risk. Some of these forms contain statements which limit the member’s ability to sue the gym proprietor.
Be sure to read over such waivers very carefully before you sign them. While they may limit your ability to file a lawsuit, such release forms do not release the gym operator from their overall duty of care which they owe to their members.
What If I Have Developed a Skin Infection Due to Unsanitary Gym Conditions?
A growing concern amongst gym and health club patrons is the issue of skin infections. These may be caused by unsanitary conditions, particularly in areas that harbor moisture such as bathrooms, locker room floors, sauna and spa areas, and swimming pools. If these areas are not properly kept and sanitized, they can cause widespread skin infections amongst gym members.
However, the main difficulty in holding a gym operator liable for skin infections is that it can be very difficult to trace the source of a skin infection. Infectious diseases of the skin can be contracted anywhere. Therefore it may be difficult to prove that a skin disease was caused by the poor maintenance of gym equipment or facilities.
On the other hand, the following factors may help prove that the source of the skin infection was due to the negligence of gym personnel:
- If several members are all experiencing the same symptoms, it could be grounds for a class action suit. This is especially true if the source of the symptoms is traceable to the gym through identification of contaminants such as bacteria.
- If the gym has failed to provide sanitation measures such as soaps or disinfectants, it could be evidence of negligence or recklessness
- If the conditions of the gym are visibly unsanitary or unsuitable, it could also be evidence of a breach of duty of care. This is especially true if the conditions clearly fail to meet local business ordinances or health and safety standards
- If gym personnel had been informed of the unsanitary or unsafe conditions, but failed to take actions to remedy it, this may also be evidence in support of negligence. Be sure to make written records of any interactions with gym personnel, including dates and if possible, witness testimony
Finally, another related issue in regards to sanitation conditions is the issue of toxic mold exposure
. Toxic mold is spread through the air and can lead to respiratory illness in addition to skin infection. Mold is commonly distributed through vents or air conditioning systems that are not properly maintained.
Be sure to contact a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of toxic mold exposure. You may wish to contact a lawyer to determine your legal options if you are severely injured by gym conditions.
Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer for Injuries Sustained at a Gym?
If you are experiencing severe symptoms that can be traced to unsafe or unhealthy gym conditions, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries. However, proving negligence involves a detailed analysis of several factors, and may even require the consultation of a specialized expert, such as a bacteriologist. Only a personal injury attorney
will be able to determine your chances of recovery. Also, if you suspect that a class action suit may be necessary, your personal injury lawyer can help represent you in such a claim.