GYMS ON THE RISE IN FLORIDA: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN REGARDING LIABILITY AND CUSTOMERS?
Oct. 21, 2015
The expansion of fitness centers in the sunshine state inevitably indicates that more and more people are interested in getting involved in a more health lifestyle that includes exercise. For example, Florida now has close to 200 CrossFit gyms alone. But what does this increase mean in terms of making sure consumers are safe in these facilities?
Waivers and Releases
Most people who join a gym will sign a standard waiver form, which limits liability for the gym owner, should the member get injured on the premises. In other words, the member assumes some of the inherent risks associated with (sometimes) strenuous physical activity.
Florida Premises Liability
Gym attendees are “invitees” under the theory of premises liability; in other words, gym owners, as business owners, must keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition, even with the waiver in place. If there is a dangerous condition (for example, a machine that is out of order, a floor that has just been mopped, etc.), they must warn customers of the hazard. They also have a duty to protect members from negligence from others that attend the gym.
But what about activities that aren’t quite foreseeable, but are also inherent to a particular workout that a gym offers? What if two gym members are working out by throwing weights to each other, and one gets hit and seriously injured by one of the weights? Sometimes, in these cases, courts will only side with injured victims if it was foreseeable to the gym that this type of incident could have occurred (or if the incident had previously occurred). This question has not yet been specifically answered in Florida, where new gyms and particular types of workouts continue to emerge.
However, some issues of negligence have been addressed, and a release cannot protect gym owners from all injuries people experience at gyms. For example, if a machine is broken for some time, unmarked as out of order, and injures a gym member, the gym owner could be held liable. Another example of gyms being held liable is when they do not keep the proper emergency equipment on hand that may be potentially necessary to help the foreseeable age range of their members, such as defibrillators.
Unsafe Premises Attorney in Florida
The duty to protect guests from harm extends beyond simply cleaning up spills and keeping walkways and stairways clear and in good repair. Any dangerous condition that the owner or operator of a property knows about or should reasonably know about can result in the owner or operator being held liable for any injuries that are caused by that condition. Property owners and operators who invite these individuals or Florida residents onto their property to do business – but who do not ensure that property is safe for others – can be held liable for injuries that occur.
Mike Walker understands the pain and expense that slip and fall injuries or injuries arising from a dangerous condition on a property can cause. He is dedicated to ensuring victims are fully compensated for their injuries. Contact the office today for a free consultation.