A Missouri man has become the first individual to successfully sue CrossFit after an exercise at his local gym left him injured. The man was found 50 percent responsible for his injuries: CrossFit and a gym trainer involved in the accident were each found 25 percent responsible for the man’s injury accident. The man was attempting to perform a deadlift exercise, an exercise move in which the individual attempts to lift the maximum amount of weight he or she can. According to the lawsuit, the man attempted to lift the weight from the floor, felt a pain in his back, and then collapsed. As the gym trainer attempted to “roll out” the man’s back, the man complained that he could not feel his legs.
No Waiver Allows the Lawsuit to Proceed
Not all individuals in the same situation as this Missouri man are able to sue CrossFit and/or their local gym. CrossFit is a strenuous exercise program that if done incorrectly or by a person who is not in appropriate physical shape can cause serious injuries (like some other forms of exercise). Because of this, many gyms will have new members sign waivers of liability before allowing them to participate in the exercise program. These waivers are meant to shield the gym (and the parent company) from liability in the case the member gets injured.
The Limits of Personal Injury Waivers
Even if the man in this story had signed a waiver before his injury, the wavier may not have been effective to prevent him from suing CrossFit and his gym. Waivers may be invalidated by the court where:
- The individual signing the waiver is not afforded an opportunity to learn of the risks he or she might face or the rights he or she is giving up, or he or she is not afforded an opportunity to consult with another before signing the waiver;
- The waiver is not clearly identified as a waiver of rights;
- The waiver requires the individual to give up all of his or her legal rights and affords the person no recourse in the event of any type of injury (for example, a waiver may not be effective in the case where someone intentionally causes injury to the signor); and/or
- The waiver is signed after an injury has occurred.
Tips for Individuals Looking to Join a Gym
Before starting a new exercise program or joining a gym, be sure to read any paperwork given to you carefully. If you are unsure as to the rights you are giving up, have a trusted friend or family member – or even an attorney – review the document with you. Signing these documents without reading them and considering the risks involved can leave you with a serious injury and no effective recourse for your losses and injury.
The southern California law firm of Case Barnett can assist you if you or your loved one have been injured in an accident at the gym or health club. Even if you believed you signed a waiver at the time you joined the gym, we may be able to successfully argue that the waiver is not effective, allowing your lawsuit to proceed. Contact Case Barnett Law at (949) 861-2990 or using the firm’s website to schedule your free case evaluation today.