Is Going to the Gym Safe for your Health?

Most people join a health club to improve their health.  However, the gym can be a dangerous place for the unwary.  The hazards are many: unfamiliar equipment; equipment in poor repair; equipment poorly placed; not enough free space to maneuver safely; fellow members leaving equipment in a dangerous position; and members overestimating their own abilities, can all create dangerous situations leading to injuries. We have handled a number of gym related incidents.  In one case a patron was injured when a weight machine tipped over.  Almost all of these machines are made so they can be affixed to the ground, and come with instructions to the purchaser that they should be fastened to the ground to avoid tipping.  In this case, the machine was not fastened, and tipped, causing injury.  In another case, the patron was taking a "Spinning" class.  The guard near the pedals of the stationary bicycle was defective and caused a laceration to the user's legs.  In yet a third case the gym member was stretching in the weight room, when another patron came by and took a weight bar off a rack.  In doing so, he failed to notice another bar which was present, and knocked it into our client, causing nerve damage to her lower leg. A recent case reported in the New York Law Journal sets forth a similar fact pattern to the latter case.  In Roer v. 150 West End Avenue Owners Corp.  the plaintiff was a gym member who was on a treadmill.  Another gym member came by, and noticing an exercise ball on the floor slowly rolled it away.  Unfortunately the ball slowly rebounded back towards the treadmill, and then got sucked in by the treadmill's belt, causing the rear of the treadmill to lift, and the plaintiff to fall.  The whole episode was caught on videotape.  The treadmill user sued the gym owner, managing agent, and the other patron who put the ball in motion. All of the defendants moved to dismiss the claims against them. The Court held that the gym owner owed a duty to those using the gym and that the "injuries naturally associated with the defendants' breach of their alleged duty (i.e. to secure the exercise ball in order to prevent it from moving freely about the gym and becoming a hazard) presents an issue of fact...".   The Court also held that the other gym patron could be held liable as "A rational factfinder could determine that it was foreseeable that placing an exercise ball in proximity to a moving treadmill, where it could come in contact with the belt and disturb the treadmill's functionality, posed a danger to the person using it."   Thus, it looks like Mr. Roer's case will go the distance. So, is going to the gym safe for your health? Only if those around you act in a safe manner.  If you have any questions or comments, please contact us. - Marc Miner, Esq. Zalman & Schnurman is a New York law firm that concentrates in personal injury actions such as construction accidents, motor vehicle accidents, bicycle accidents, premises liability, trip and falls, slip and falls, snow and ice cases, medical malpractice, traumatic brain injuries, etc. Learn more at www.1800Lawline.com, or contact us at 1-800-LAWLINE, or 1-800-529-5463 New York City, Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Westchester County, Rockland County. The information provided here is for informational purposes only and is not meant as legal advice or to cover all possible facts or factors. An attorney should be consulted to discuss specific facts and laws.

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