The new year has arrived—and with it, the resolutions of millions of Australians to finally ‘get fit’.
Last year, Australians were forecast to spend $4.7 billion on fitness to achieve their new year’s goals, and it’s likely we’ll spend the same, if not more, this time around.
Prioritising your health is a great way to start the new year, but exercising at a gym facility or with a personal trainer does come with its own set of risks.
Whether it’s your first time lacing those gym shoes or you’re a long-time fitness junkee, everyone is vulnerable to the risk of gym and personal training injuries.
In this article we discuss how to make a claim when a gym or personal trainer is at fault for your injury.
The impact of Australian fitness facility injuries
Fitness activities are Australia’s second most popular sport and recreation pursuit with just under one in five Aussies hitting the gym throughout the year.
The high-risk nature of fitness activities leaves potential for injury—which sadly, can result in interruptions to daily life, a loss of income, disability, and, in severe cases, even death.
Fitness related injuries can have different causes ranging from bad positioning and form to incorrect use of gym equipment.
One study found the most common cause of these injuries is overexertion and strenuous movement, but they’re also largely caused by equipment malfunctions, being pushed too hard by a trainer and unintentional contact with other people—situations we have no control over.
Protections for gyms and personal trainers
You may have noticed most fitness facilities and personal trainers will require you fill out a waiver when you sign-up, giving them a high level of legal protection against any injuries you sustain while training.
Signing this waiver generally means you take full responsibility for the risks that typically come with gym and fitness activities.
Unfortunately, this means you aren’t protected if your injury is due to overexertion, unintentionally dropping weights or is accidentally self-inflicted.
But, in many cases, a fitness-related injury is the fault of the premises or personal trainer—and in this case you may have a right to make a claim.
How to know if you can make a claim?
Even though you’ve signed a waiver taking ‘full risk responsibility’, gym management and personal trainers are still responsible for making sure you’re in a safe environment.
If they haven’t taken appropriate steps to prioritise your safety and you become injured, you may be able to make a claim for compensation to help your recovery.
Some situations include:
If you weren’t properly instructed on how to use equipment: You should be instructed on how to operate each piece of equipment before use.
You are pushed too hard: Personal trainers are responsible for learning what you’re trying to achieve and whether you have underlying weaknesses. If you’re then pushed too hard to the extent of injury, the personal trainer’s duty of care has been breached.
A lack of safety or security: Fitness facilities are responsible for making sure you’re in a safe and secure environment.
Another gym member causes you injury: If a fellow gym member has been negligent and causes you injury, you may have a right of action against them as an individual.
The law is slightly different in every state, but you should be able to make a claim if you have evidence to prove fault or negligence.
What can you claim?
We understand the stress and uncertainty you may be facing after such an injury.
You’re not alone, and getting the right help and taking positive action can help you feel empowered again.
If you have a legitimate claim against a personal trainer or fitness facility, you may be able to claim compensation for:
Medical and related expenses
Personal care needs (rehabilitation needs)
Loss of earning (due to time off work)
Loss of earning capacity (what you now earn compared to what you could once earn)
Pain and suffering (in cases of a significant and permanent injury)
Our experienced approach to helping people with gym and personal training injuries
Public liability law is quite complex, and those not working in this area on a daily basis won’t be able to provide appropriate advice.
We have a high degree of experience and expertise in this area which helps us to provide advice quickly about whether or not you have a viable claim.
We’re dedicated to giving you the best support needed to help you get your life back on track again.
I’ve been injured! What do I do?
Following a few simple but important steps following injury can keep you and others safe and make sure you have evidence if you need to make a claim:
Seek medical attention
A good health outcome will always be more important than a good legal claim in the long run. There should be a staff member available who is trained in first aid, or, if it’s a more serious injury, call an ambulance.
Take note of the details
Take plenty of photos / video to capture visual proof of how the equipment and environment was at fault or not safe. Take note of the time, date, address / location, why you were at the facility, how the accident happened and any other important details.
Ask for the names and contact details of people around you who could act as witnesses to your accident.
Report the faulty equipment / environment to the gym operator or personal trainer to prevent further harm to others.
Seek legal advice
Seek appropriate legal advice if the injury continues to be a problem. To help with the legal process, be sure to keep a record of receipts and any important documentation from medical practitioners, the personal trainer or facility management.
How we can help you
Slater and Gordon are highly experienced in public liability law and have expert teams in each state we operate.
Our teams understand the impact of an injury on your quality of life and we’re committed to providing a clear, honest assessment of whether you are eligible to make a claim for compensation.
We’re proud to provide our clients with access to leading, affordable legal services, including our ‘No Win, No Fee*’ offer, as well as a free initial consultation** for gym and personal training injury cases.
We also offer a free social work service upon referral from a lawyer if needed.
If you or a loved one have been injured through gym or personal training, contact us online or by calling 1800 555 777. We’re here to help.