Q&A Does a signed waiver exempt Gym from accident liability?

Q:        Last week I tripped over some weights at the gym that had been left randomly on the floor instead of being put back on the rack. I crashed down onto them, knocking out several front teeth and breaking my nose and my elbow.

I am likely to be off work for several weeks, but the worst part is the emotional stress caused by losing my front teeth. Implants are going to cost a fortune and take time to do. The accident was recorded, but the gym manager pointed out that I had signed a waiver when I joined, which seemed like he was suggesting I should have been looking where I was going, and it was my own fault. I don’t even remember signing a waiver. Can I sue them?

A:        Unfortunately, people often don’t realise they have signed a waiver when they sign a membership form containing one. However, any waiver that attempts to completely prevent you from claiming compensation under any circumstances could be in violation of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, and therefore be invalid.

Understanding how to properly use and store weights is critical in ensuring all employees and gym members are as safe as possible in the weight room. Gyms should have a clear written policy displayed detailing the proper use of weights, and staff should be instructed to ensure members are familiar with the policy and comply with it. If members do not replace weights on the rack, it is the responsibility of gym staff to do it.

You reported the accident at the time, which is good. Now you need to gather as much other evidence as you can, including medical and dental reports and photographs of your injuries. You should then seek legal advice from a local personal injury solicitor. As well as medical expenses you may be able to claim for physical and mental pain you have suffered, travel expenses and any loss of earnings.

This question has been answered by Claire Parfitt, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, please visit our website www.ghplegal.com and use the contact us form, or call us on: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194 

Claire Parfitt

Claire Parfitt

Senior Solicitor

Senior Solicitor within our Civil Litigation team in Wrexham and Oswestry