Faulty Exercise Equipment in Gym: Can you Sue?

by | Apr 9, 2024 | Premises Liability, Fitness Equipment

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The expression “A healthy mind in a healthy body” highlights the necessity of maintaining physical fitness. Exercise is an important aspect of most people’s lives in the United States. Americans who are health-conscious spend a lot of time at gyms. To make training enjoyable and energizing, exercise equipment in the gym should be in good working order. Gyms, despite being a place to get fit and healthy, are not without their share of catastrophes.

According to the NEISS injury data for 2019, 468,315 people were injured while exercising with or without fitness equipment. Between the ages of 25 and 64, there are 251,000 people in this category. The number of persons treated in the emergency room was used to compile this data. People with minor injuries and those treated by other health care practitioners, such as chiropractors, were not included.

Can you sue the gym for injury? Read this blog to know what you can do if you sustain injuries from exercise equipment in gym and how to sue a gym.

Injury causing gym equipment

Treadmills stand as a prominent reason for fitness equipment-related injuries. From time to time, different brands of treadmills, like ICON Health & Fitness of Logan, Cybex International of Medway, etc., were voluntarily recalled from the market due to defects, which caused injuries. Even the boxing legend Mike Tyson’s daughter Exodus was fatally strangled by the cord in the treadmill and lost her life in 2009.

Slipping or falling from the treadmills is not uncommon and causes severe injuries to the users. Treadmills are the most dangerous piece of malfunctioning equipment, causing common gym injuries according to Consumer Product Safety Commission data. In fact, they reported over 24,400 falling off treadmill injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms in 2014. Weight machines and free weights also add to the number of injuries caused by exercise equipment in gym.

According to NCBI, around 52.6% of the injuries were caused by free-weight activities. Crush injuries are common in free-weight exercises. Elliptical gym machines like Stationary bikes, pulley systems, and stair climbers are somewhat unstable due to the design and can tumble down to cause injuries. The elliptical machines cause an imbalance in weight-bearing and create knee injuries. Overuse injuries like tendonitis are common due to their low-impact design. Stair climbers, too, create overuse issues to the knee.

Finger injuries or damage to the finger pulley are common in pulley systems. Medicine balls become the reason for seven percent of the workout equipment injuries in women and five percent of men who visit the Emergency room. Exercises involving throwing the medicine balls on hard surfaces make the ball bounce dangerously and injure the head or face of the people around. Many people are fond of working out on stationary balls. Due to wear and tear or excessive user weight, the balls may burst and cause injuries. Inexperience in using the stability balls results in slip and fall injuries.

Common causes of gym equipment accidents

What is the potential hazard of failing to use equipment correctly at the gym? If gym users fail to use gym equipment as per the instructions, it can lead to fatal injuries. This can occur due to body parts or dress getting entrapped in the running gym equipment, body parts getting crushed by the moving machines or accidnetally touching sharp or hot machine parts leading to abrasions or injuries. Let’s see the most common causes of gym equipment injuries here.

  1. Faulty equipment:

Due to the defect of the exercise equipment in gym, like an electric shock, loose machine faulty parts, etc., these machines can injure people fatally. Gym equipment repair leading to injuries stands first as the cause. Machine parts coming off while exercising can pose a serious threat to the safety of the person on the equipment. Manufacturing defects and faulty designs make fitness machines dangerous to work on and ensue in causing injury in the gym, a recurrence. Fitness equipment repair should be identified on time and gym equipment maintenance must be done regularly to avoid injuries.

  1. Installation defects:

Imbalanced or improperly installed exercise equipment in gym can trip or move violently when switched on. The person on the equipment would lose balance and fall. Due to the speed and momentum, the fallen equipment could be dangerous if people are caught under that.

  1. Inexperienced or negligent trainers:

Grave accidents might occur during practice sessions if the trainers are inattentive in guiding or delivering directions. Certain exercises need continuous supervision from the trainers to avoid mishaps.

  1. Careless/irresponsible gym employees:

For the safety of the gym members, it is the responsibility of the gym personnel to keep the premises clean and clutter-free. Slip and fall or trip and fall mishaps could occur due to wet floors and an untidy and littered workout space. Once the members have finished their sessions, the personnel are responsible for keeping the instruments and weights in place. They have to repair gym equipment and make sure that it is safe.

  1. Negligence from other members:

Everyone is responsible for putting things back where they belong after they have been used rather than tossing them away. A carelessly thrown disc or exercise ball can obstruct other members who are out in the same area. Throwing the ball against the wall to practice might injure not only the individual throwing the ball but also the people nearby.

  1. Mistakes on the part of the plaintiff:

Concentrating on the music might divert focus away from the workout, making users unaware of their surroundings and potentially causing mishaps. To avoid mishaps while using a treadmill, safety clips must be attached to the person’s clothing. Other reasons for gym injuries, according to gym owners, include too much exertion after a long time of inactivity, not following directions properly, and members’ lack of experience. Newbies will be too thrilled to utilize the machines and will disregard the trainers’ warning instructions. When people using gym equipment wrong, the gym owners cannot be blamed for the accidents.

  1. Lack of maintenance

Gym equipment may need to be serviced in a number of ways. Regular maintenance is necessary, and this includes cleaning and lubricating. Every year, preventative maintenance should be carried out, which entails spotting possible problems early on and fixing them before they get out of hand.

Most exercise enthusiasts are harmed by badly maintained equipment, which can result in mishaps and injuries. Members’ safety and the reputation of the gym are at risk due to malfunctioning treadmills, unstable benches, and loose cables, which can cause serious accidents.

Prominent injuries by exercise equipment in gym

Faulty gym equipments can put the lives of the people who use it in danger. The repercussions of accidents ranging from sprains to traumatic brain damage vary. It is possible that death will occur. Let’s delve into the potential hazards of failing to use equipment correctly at the gym.

  • Ankle or foot injuries: Repeated severe sprains of the ankle or foot can wear down the tendons and cause serious injury.
  • Neck and head injuries: Falling from defective machines can be deadly if the head or neck collides with the metal pieces or the floor. It may cause brain damage, resulting in coma or paralysis.
  • Face injuries: If you fall face down or strike your face against the tools, you will suffer severe facial injuries and permanent scarring. Throwing medicine balls carelessly can knock individuals down and cause facial injuries.
  • Shoulder injuries: Mistakes in weight lifting might result in shoulder problems. Injuries are frequently caused by a misalignment of weight levels.
  • Back and spinal cord injuries: Being flung from the aggressively moving malfunctioning machinery may result in back and spinal cord injuries.
  • Knee injuries: Excessive exercise or overuse can harm the ligaments in the knee, resulting in serious health problems.
  • Limb amputations: Improper weight handling can cause weight to fall on the limbs, causing them to be amputated.
  • Strains and fractures: Over-exertion can lead to muscle tears. Sometimes, excessive weight lifting or falling weights can possibly end up in fractures.
  • Abrasions: Users may sustain abrasions as a result of careless handling of training equipment.

What to do if injured by fitness equipment

  • Report the incident to the owner: If you are injured from a faulty gym equipment, inform the owner or trainer about your injuries verbally or in written form immediately. If the incident is recorded in the gym’s register, get a copy of that for proof.
  • Document the incident and injuries: Photograph the location and injuries as evidence for the faulty equipment lawsuit. Detailed pictures of the faulty exercise equipment in gym and the bloodstains on it would be vital evidence to strengthen your litigation. If any hazards in a gym facility cause injuries, you can capture them in photos or videos.
  • Seek medical help: Getting immediate medical help will not only save you from intensifying your injuries but also increase the credibility of your claim. The healthcare provider’s opinions on the injuries can be noted for future reference.
  • Stack your medical records: Medical records play an important role in all lawsuits. Keep all your medical records. Even those you consider unimportant will be a turning point in your claim.
  • Collect witness details: If anyone witnessed your accident, collect their personal details and document their statements if possible.
  • Record the worsening or progress in your injuries: Maintaining the data on the progression or worsening of your injuries and treatment progress will be of great help during the legal procedures.

Faulty gym equipment lawsuit

Can you sue a gym for faulty equipment? If your injury is caused by faulty equipment in gym, you can sue the gym. For keeping faulty equipment in the gym and being negligent in the safety of the users, members can consider suing the gym for negligence. However, based on the circumstances of the accident and injury, you can decide the type of liability claim you have to choose.

Gym injury lawsuits, like all law disputes, are based on four considerations. The defendant owes the plaintiff a duty, the defendant breaches that obligation, the defendant’s negligence causes the plaintiff’s injury, and the plaintiff suffers various losses as a result of the injury. The faulty gym equipment lawsuit can be filed under the below categories.

  • Personal injury: Anyone injured by faulty equipment can sue for a personal injury on gym equipment. Whoever is responsible for your injuries and failed to repair gym equipment and led to your injuries can be held liable.
  • Product liability: When machinery with manufacturing flaws or bad designs produces accidents, the maker may be held liable. Failure to provide instructions for safe installation and use is also a big flaw on the manufacturer’s part, as it is the manufacturer’s obligation to ensure the quality of the goods they produce and promote. The individual or company in charge of equipment maintenance may also be held liable.
  • Premises liability: If a plaintiff slips and falls on a slick or damp floor or trips over carelessly thrown equipment, he can claim the gym owner, trainer, or property owner for premises liability. Those individuals are responsible for keeping the place safe to use. The employees who are responsible for maintaining the area hazard-free to ensure the safety of the members also can be sued.

Damages claimed for gym injury

Like other personal injury claims, gym mishaps also cover pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, past and present medical expenses, future medical expenses, disfigurement and scarring, emotional distress, and punitive damages (in some cases) In case of losing your dear one to gym injury, the surviving family or spouse can claim a wrongful death claim. The gym accident compensation damages include burial charges, loss of consortium, and loss of earnings calculated based on the earning capacity of the victim if alive.

Issues raised by gym owners

Gym owners may raise various objections to deny the claims for injuries from exercise equipment in gym.

  • Assumption of risk: The defendant can claim that the plaintiff involved in the exercise knows the risk factors of the equipment. This changes the liability of the defendant.
  • Plaintiff signed liability waiver: Most of the gyms make the users sign a liability waiver to make the user take up responsibility for possible injuries.
  • Partial responsibility of the plaintiff: They can prove that the user has partial responsibility for the injuries he sustained.

You may have a doubt now, like- Can I sue my gym for injury, even after signing a liability waiver? Of course, if you are injured by equipment while working out, you can file a claim. Even though the gym trainer made you sign a liability waiver at the beginning of your membership, you need not worry about getting your restitution. If the trainer or owner is responsible for your injury at the gym, you can undoubtedly claim gym injury compensation. Ambiguous and vague waivers will have loopholes to claim. Waivers never cover negligence-related injuries.

For example, the LA fitness Center asserts that to use club facilities, all guests must be at least 16 years old (or at least 13 years old if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian) and sign a LA fitness waiver of liability; guests under 18 years old must have a parent or legal guardian sign the LA fitness liability waiver on their behalf.

Gym equipment injury claims a life: A real incident

In February 2022, a 42-year-old mother was working out with a barbell at Fitness Sport in the Peralvillo neighborhood. The hefty man adjusted the plates before she got into her position. In front of her daughter, the 400-pound barbell crushed the woman to death. The traumatized daughter was getting psychological counseling, reports The Mirror. The gym employee’s handling of the exercise equipment in gym led to her horrific death. The gym owner was arrested in order to identify the woman. Investigations are still going on in the case.


Humans need exercise to stay healthy and robust. Working out on equipment is fun, but it also necessitates a great deal of caution in order to stay safe while doing so. A device that is supposed to make you healthier should not end up being harmful and injuring you. The gym owners should check the faulty equipment machines to avoid injuries at the gym routinely.

If you have been harmed by exercise equipment in gym, call an experienced lawyer to file a claim for compensation. He will guide you on how to sue a gym. By suing gym for negligence, in a way, you are creating awareness against their negligence and cautioning people on possible injuries that could occur in gyms. Handle the gym equipment with caution and be healthy.

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