Injured At The Gym: Is Your Personal Trainer Liable?

If you're working hard to get fit and change your lifestyle, suffering an injury can be devastating. Sometimes, injuries occur because of true accidents, but in other cases, another person can be responsible for your injuries. If you were injured while working with a personal trainer, there is a possibility that your trainer could be liable for your injuries. Here are some scenarios where a personal trainer's mistakes might have caused or contributed to the severity of your injuries. 

1. Giving Advice Outside of Expertise

Sometimes, because trainers have a level of authority over their clients, they have a responsibility to recognize their influence. For example, a personal trainer may have a degree in exercise, but they might not know much about supplements, medications, or vitamins. If your trainer strongly recommended a specific supplement and that supplement led to injury, your trainer could potentially be liable for prescribing a routine that was outside his or her professional sphere of influence. 

2. Not Accounting for Medical History

Responsible gyms and personal trainers will ask about your exercise and medical history before allowing you to begin a new workout program. Some may even require a note from a physician saying you are well enough to complete a personalized program. If your trainer did not ask you for or accommodate known medical problems, this could be negligence.

As an example, a client might have trouble with their knees because of a past car accident. The trainer knows about the knee trouble but still asks the client to perform a series of high impact jump squats during the session. The client's knee pain worsens and her knee swells after the workout. After seeing the doctor, the client discovers she needs surgery. This is an example of how a trainer's negligence directly impacted or even caused the severity of an injury. 

3. Neglecting to Properly Assess Fitness Levels

On a similar note, trainers should be aware that the same program does not work the same for everyone. Many injuries can be the result of overtraining, doing too much too soon, or attempting a new move without properly learning the motions. If you were inactive for months before visiting your trainer and then started your first session with a high intensity workout that caused you to faint and hit your head, your trainer may be liable for your injuries because they were negligent in assessing your fitness level. 

4. Using Broken or Damaged Equipment

It's the responsibility of a trainer (or a facility) to make sure that all equipment is safe for people to use. Broken weight clips, for example, can cause weights to slide off the bar and crush your foot. If your trainer provides defective equipment for your workout and you are injured as a result, it can fall on the trainer or the facility the trainer works for to pay for your injuries.

Finally, it is important to note that many facilities and trainers can be protected legally because they asked you to sign a waiver assuming the risks associated with training, working out, and using work out equipment. However, even though a waiver can make it more difficult for you to make claims against another person, they do not waive the responsibility of another party to provide for the reasonably safety and well-being of their customers within the realm of their personal expertise. Bring your waiver to your lawyer to read over the wording -- you might have a stronger case than you think. 

You can receive compensation for injuries you suffer while trying to get healthy and fit. For more information on your case, contact a personal injury lawyer, like one from Palmetto Injury Lawyers, in your area.