According to the International Health, Racquetball & Sportsclub Association, more than 50 million Americans have gym memberships. Gyms allow you as a member certain privileges such as access to a personal trainer who can help you stay motivated toward your fitness goals. It’s no secret that personal trainers are highly motivated people themselves, but sometimes that can go too far at the gym.
What happens if I am hurt during my workout?
According to a 2010 study published in the New York Times, nearly one million Americans were injured at the gym from 1990 to 2007. Many of these injuries were the result of overexertion, especially in weight training exercises. Men were more likely to be injured than women and injuries differed between the sexes.
Men were more likely to injure their back, abdomen or chest while women were more likely to injure their legs or feet. The good news is that very few of these injuries resulted in hospitalization or death, but they still could be severe enough to affect your well-being and long term health. So, if your personal trainer pushes you too hard could they be responsible for your injury?
Liability depends on negligence
For your personal trainer to be held responsible for your injury, you must prove that their actions were negligent. That is to say: your trainer had a duty to take proper care to prevent an injury but did not do so.
By examining the four elements of negligence, we can better understand when a personal trainer might be responsible for an injury. All elements must be met for your trainer to be liable.
- Duty: By hiring a trainer, you expect them to show you how to use equipment and prevent injury in your routine.
- Breach: Your trainer did not take steps to show you how to use equipment properly, even though it might be reasonably expected in the situation (doing a new exercise, working with new equipment, doing an exercise known to have high injury risks).
- Causation: Your trainer’s actions caused the injury. For example, they should have been spotting you on the bench press but they were distracted by a phone call while you struggled to lift the weight off your chest, resulting in an injury.
- Damages: Your injury resulted in measurable harm such as a hospital bill or missed time at work.
What you do at the gym should be good for your long-term well-being. While you might use a personal trainer to stay motivated toward your health goals, you and your trainer should also be careful to prevent injuries in the meantime.