I suffered an injury on a wet floor at the gym. The manager says I can’t sue because I signed a “general release” when I joined. Is this true?

While it’s standard procedure for a health club or gym to require members to sign a liability waiver, members still have rights.

The purpose of a general release of liability waiver is to protect the gym from injuries caused by members. It’s common to sustain an injury while exercising. For example, pulling a muscle by lifting too much weight, misusing an exercise machine, or overexerting are typical injuries covered members are prohibited from bringing about legal action.

However, when an injury is sustained due to the gym’s negligence, a release is not enough to excuse the gym from liability.

Similar to other slip and fall accidents, gym owners are bound by a general duty of care. This means gym members must be adequately warned of wet floors, slick surfaces, and faulty equipment.

Areas such as freshly mopped floors or shower rooms that are frequently wet should display warning signs to notify members of a slipping hazard. In some cases, a gym may be required to install drainage systems to prevent water build-up and provide non-slip surfaces and grab bars to prevent falls.

Under Massachusetts law, health club contracts are prohibited from containing provisions whereby members waive negligence or legal claims arising from the member’s activities at the club. Therefore, if you sustain an injury at the gym due to negligence, you can pursue a personal injury case. Contact our office today to discuss your rights and next steps.

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