T Nation

Gym Negligence?


So this is a question for all you lawyer type people out there. Is it considered negligence if a gym does not have hammer strength equipment bolted into the ground (as it's supposed to be as far as I know) which could cause bodily harm? I was doing hammer strength lat iso row (high to low) with decent weight on it 3p/side which is obviously more then the frame can handle without being bolted into the ground as anytime I'd lift explosively the front end of the frame would come up off the ground nearly flipping over (obviously I stopped doing this after one or two reps). I didn't have improper back movement, i.e. swinging open with my lower lower back and having my chest come off the supportive pad. Had this flipped over and injured me would it be considered negligence or some other type of lawsuit possibility?


Not a lawyer, but to me you assumed the risk when you started using the machine, especially knowing that it is supposed to be bolted down(if that is in fact true) and using it anyway.
From there, I'll ask you if you had notified them of this and what did they do about it?


I just went on the floor and did this, the machine never moved. You might have "explosive movement" and "flailing the fuck around" mixed up. pics/ vids maybe?


If it ever becomes a lawsuit you must of course vociferously profess that you didn't know this at the time.


Which is why this thread is awesome.


This is retarded, and I'm surprised it's being taken seriously. Lawsuits against gyms are the reason you have huge spaces for cardio equipment, but have trouble getting dumbbells past 100 lbs.


I'm quite aware of how to use the machine properly. The way the machine is built doesn't make a whole lot of sense in my mind, majority of the weight is positioned on one very small leg/stand setup. As the weight transitions through the lift almost all the weight then becomes balanced behind the actual load-bearing legs underneath the seat when using a full ROM.

I am leaving this gym within the next week or so due to it just being miserable. Gym manager bitched today about someone elses chalk (I started using liquid chalk and he found a bag of regular chalk and accused me of owning it) and deadlifting too heavy. I'm simply wondering for curiosity sake.

No the reason you have huge spaces for cardio equipment and very few dumbbells past 100 lbs is due to the clientele that use the gyms. From a business standpoint it's a poor investment to put a lot of money into equipment that very few people are capable of using/don't use. It has very little to do with lawsuits against gyms.

Again this is simply for my own curiosity and I was wondering if something like this would have legal ramifications.

As an aside, my bud is opening his own warehouse style gym soon and will be having mats down over concrete. To be ale to drill into the concrete/lay wood foundation on top of to drill into would be much more expensive. If he can avoid doing this and not have legal ramifications it'd be good to know.


Sorry man, wasn't trying to imply that you're retarded. The machines should be bolted down, and I've caused a few to walk when I'm using them.

For the warehouse, can't he cut into the mattin with a little effort? I'm thinking drill into the concrete and then cut the matting to fit snugly around the equipment's legs.


It's possible though he'll be doing a lot of the construction himself, I'm not too sure how saavy he is and I can honestly see him ruining more mats then anything. This may end up having to be a down-the-road type fix/cost which is one reason I'm curious about the possible negligence related to this.


So not only did you know it should be bolted to the ground, after you saw it was unsafe and lifting off on each movement, you continued to lift? That is all I would see as a judge or jury.

Also, I'm not sure but I think most gyms have you sign waivers that they aren't liable for most things.


No I questioned whether it should be bolted to the ground, I saw the holes in it and assumed as much. I proceeded to try it out, did 2 reps with the front end coming up both times and got off. Didn't use it again.


If it were brought to trial I just imagine the lawyer playing up the "meathead" angle and thus making the jury think that whoever got injured was on the creatinez and was roid raging. /semi sarcasm.


waivers don't mean shit. negligence is negligence in this case.




I managed complex claims for 20 years.

The waivers gyms have you sign vary in enforceability depending on your State. Generally, you're engaging in an athletic activity that can result in injury and thus you acknowledge that you are assuming some risk. Put simply, if you hurt yourself working out, it's a known risk of the activity you engaged in, and the gym is not responsible. The waivers however do not legally insulate a gym from its own negligence.

A machine that is intended to be bolted to the floor (as evidenced by the holes for the bolts) and is not (which is very common), is certainly a potential liability for the gym, if the machinery causes you injury from not being bolted down. Of course, if you saw that the machine was unsecured and you appreciated the risk of injury, it would be argued that you were comparatively negligent which could reduce or maybe even bar your claim.

Now, that said, I see some of the replies here heavy on humor and generally dismissive to OP. But trust me when I tell you, faulty or unsafe gym equipment can result in catastrophic injuries. I once paid 9 MILLION DOLLARS to a young law school student who worked out at Gold's Venice. He was doing squats in the smith machine when his knee gave out and this particular smith machine lacked safety stops and the guy, and the weight, crashed to the floor, rendering him a quadriplegic. This was a guy on his way to a law degree who did some fitness modeling and was a hobbyist type bodybuilder - quite experienced lifting (squatting in the smith machine aside lol) with a promising life in front of him.


yeah, like what if they flooded the gym with poisonous gas or put hydrochloric acid in the water fountain.."Sorry! But you signed that waiver see, so you can't really do anything...sorry again!"


Son of a bitch.

I haven't before, and you can bet your fucking ass I will now NEVER squat in a smith.

shit man... 9mil isn't enough. Not for a quad. That poor dude.


Nope. You cannot put a price on some shit like that (but we manage to). It wasn't a smith machine issue per se. This particular smith machine had no safety stops which allowed the weight to go all the way to the floor. Based on the experts involved, the lack of safety stop constituted a defect. Of course, the manufacturer of the subject smith machine had only $1M in coverage so Gold's - for allowing a defective machine in their gym, ate the remainder of the claim.

Keep in mind the 9m (10m total with the money from the mfg) represented a disputed settlement. It's not like we rolled over and said, "we completely agree with you that our client was negligent". It was more like, "we understand your claims, but here is what we will say at trail to refute those claims and this is what we think our risk is and what the likely outcomes of a trial are". If we tried the case and lost, that number would likely have been much higher because the people on the jury would have felt exactly like you do.


It's obvious which points make sense, so I wont reiterate, with my opinion. I will say, I work in a corp. gym. They are typically very careful about any sort of loose strings which may be considered negligence. The company is trying to get investors to go public and their shit needs to be pretty tight to show said potential investors.

Our leg press isnt bolted down, the building owners dont want us to bolt anything down. It moves about 2 feet back a week. So they may be covered, or they may not be concerned with A 500 LB machine with a low center of gravity falling over.


That's what we've done where I work. Doesn't take much time at all.