Going to the gym on a regular basis has become more and more popular, as it is an effective and fun way to get healthy and stay in shape. As of 2021, 10.3 million people held a gym membership in the UK, which is over 15% of the country’s population.
A good workout can bring many benefits, but if the gym is not run properly, accidents can happen. These are mainly due to faulty equipment, poor gym maintenance and bad advice from the gym staff and may lead to a wide range of injuries, from cuts and lacerations to severe brain trauma.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury without being at fault, you might be entitled to make a gym injury claim. If your case has merit, you can pursue compensation for pain, suffering and financial losses on a no win no fee basis, so you will incur no out-of-pocket expenses if your claim is unsuccessful.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410 or enter your details into our online claim form to receive a call back. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a gym injury claim and answer any questions you may have.
Can I make a gym injury claim?
When going to a gym, you expect it to be well maintained and supplied with proper equipment and machinery. You are also entitled to expect the gym staff to be well prepared and knowledgeable and provide expert advice on how to exercise safely.
Under the Occupiers Liability Act 1984, the gym owner and staff members have a duty of care to take all reasonable measures to keep you as safe as reasonable during your visit. If the equipment was faulty, the gym failed to have adequate health and safety procedures in place, or you received bad advice from a staff member, you might be entitled to make a gym injury claim.
A gym accident claim aims to compensate you for the pain, suffering and financial losses caused by your injuries. To have a valid claim, you need to prove that:
- You had an accident while at the gym
- The accident was due to the gym operator’s negligence
- You suffered an injury or injuries as a result
- You were injured in the last three years
Usually, a gym accident claim should be possible even if you were partially at fault for the injury. If it is agreed that you hold less than 50% of the blame, you will receive a reduced award to reflect your contributory negligence.
If you have a valid claim and decide to hire a personal injury lawyer, they will offer you a no win no fee service. This enables you to make a gym injury claim without paying upfront legal fees or taking any financial risks. If your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t pay a penny.
What steps should I take if I’m injured in a gym accident?
If you suffered a gym accident that you believe was due to negligence, the first thing you should do is contact a personal injury solicitor. They will investigate the circumstances of your injury and let you know whether you are entitled to receive injury compensation.
If you have a valid claim, your solicitor will provide legal representation and guide you through all the steps of the claims process. The first thing they will help you do is to gather the evidence you need to build a strong gym injury claim. Some things you can do to help with the claims process include:
- Have your injuries assessed and treated as soon as possible. Your solicitor will later request your medical records from the A&E or your GP to show what injuries you received treatment for.
- Photograph or take a video of the cause of your accident.
- Take photos of your injuries and any damage to your items.
- Get the contact details of other gym members or witnesses to your accident.
- See if the gym is covered by CCTV cameras and request a copy of your accident before it is deleted.
- Report the accident to the gym staff and ensure they write it in the accident log book. You can request a signed copy of the report to prove the accident’s date, time and location.
- Record all the expenses you incur and keep any receipts, bank statements or invoices that are relevant.
Your solicitor will also arrange a free medical exam with an independent expert to assess the full extent of your injuries, any immediate medical needs, and your recovery prospects.
After you have all the appropriate evidence, your solicitor will send a letter of claim to the defendant to inform them that you are planning to take legal action. They have up to 21 days to acknowledge that they received your letter and another three months to carry out their own investigations. By the end of this period, they must send you a response stating whether they admit liability for your gym accident.
If the defendant admits liability, the next step in the personal injury claims process is calculating a suitable compensation award for your damages and negotiating a settlement with the other side. If liability is denied, your solicitor will have to issue court proceedings.
Usually, the negotiations will continue until the trial date, and both parties will make multiple offers. Less than 5% of all personal injury claims reach trial, but if you have to argue your case before a judge, your solicitor will usually instruct a barrister to represent you.
After you reach a settlement or the judge makes a decision, you should receive your compensation award within a few weeks. Your solicitor may also be able to help you set up a personal injury trust so that your settlement will not be considered for any means-tested benefits you receive.
What are the most common gym accidents?
Many different accidents can happen in gyms and fitness centres that may lead to a gym injury claim. The most common causes leading to gym accidents include:
- Poorly designed or manufactured gym equipment
- Equipment that is not assembled or installed correctly
- Lack of adequate instructions or warning about using the equipment
- Poorly maintained or installed belts on treadmills
- Missing safety features on treadmills to make them stop in case of a fall
- Faulty bikes with missing or broken pedal straps, exposed gears or inadequately attached seats
- Old or poorly manufactured resistance bands that may cause facial and eye injuries
- Damaged, defective or worn out weight lifting equipment
- Poor design or maintenance on workout machines
- Swimming pool accidents such as slips, trips and chemical injuries
- A poor gym layout with machinery too close to each other
- Careless or poorly trained gym instructors giving inaccurate advice
- Wet floors with no warning signs and other slipping hazards
- Loose or raised training mats, equipment left on the floor and other tripping hazards
- Inadequate induction sessions
This list is not exhaustive, so you may still be able to claim gym injury compensation even if you did not find the cause of your accident listed here. After hearing the circumstances of your injury, your solicitor will be able to let you know if you have a valid case and guide you through all the steps of the claims process.
What are the most common gym injuries?
Defective equipment, poor housekeeping and other hazards can lead to many different injuries that might entitle you to make a gym accident claim. Some of the most common include:
Acute injuries like lower back sprains and strains from trying to lift too much usually heal on their own but may sometimes need to be evaluated by a doctor. Exercising without proper technique or faulty machinery may also cause more severe spinal injuries, such as herniated or slipped disks.
A slip, trip and fall at the gym due to spillages or loose equipment that has not been stored properly may also lead to fractures and spinal cord trauma. A severe back injury may take many months to heal and could cause long-term complications for which you could claim gym injury compensation.
Achilles tendon injuries
The Achilles tendon is the largest in the human body and connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. An Achilles tear or tendonitis usually occurs due to overuse and repetitive straining and is less commonly caused by acute trauma like a trip or fall.
An Achilles injury can be very painful and lead to chronic pain and long-term mobility issues, making walking difficult. The treatment may involve rest, anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy. A severe rupture will likely need surgery and a recovery period of up to a year. If another person’s negligence caused your injury, you might be able to make a gym accident claim.
Soft tissue damage
Soft tissue damage includes bruising, cuts and scrapes, lacerations and severe abrasions. Although these injuries will not usually lead to complications, they can be very painful and affect your day-to-day life during recovery.
Deep cuts and lacerations can put you at risk for infections and tetanus and may need stitching. This will likely leave a permanent scar and entitle you to make a gym injury claim. Soft tissue injuries may be due to equipment defects, poor maintenance or falling after a slip or trip.
A dislocation is a severe injury that could affect any joint in the body and occurs when the ends of the bones shift from their normal position. The most commonly affected areas in adults are the shoulder, knee, ankle or elbow.
The most common cause of dislocation injuries is blunt trauma that forces the joint out of place, usually due to a fall. Dislocations cause temporary deformity and immobilisation and may result in intense pain and swelling. In severe cases, the treatment might require surgical intervention.
Fractures or broken bones are most commonly due to dropping weights, usually on the toes and other foot bones. Stress fractures can also occur from overuse and repetitive straining or when someone tries to do too much without having a strong fitness foundation. A fall due to poor housekeeping or machinery defects may also cause a fracture to the wrist, arm, leg or any other part of the body.
People with bone fractures typically experience pain, swelling, and the inability to put weight on or move the affected area. Fractures can take several weeks to several months to heal, during which you may not be able to carry out your daily activities. If you were injured due to negligence, you might be able to make a gym injury compensation claim.
There are many leg injuries that you could suffer at the gym due to a slip, trip and fall, improper training or faulty equipment. These range from minor sprains and strains to severe tendon tears, lacerations or crush injuries.
A leg injury can be extremely painful and may take a significant time to heal. You may not be able to work, drive, do household chores, or even cook during that period, which can result in substantial financial losses. If another person was responsible for your accident, you might be able to claim leg injury compensation.
Accidents caused by poor supervision or faulty equipment can result in shoulder sprains and strains, dislocations, and even more severe forms of shoulder injuries. Repetitive movements such as overhead lifting can also overload the tendons and cause small tears and fractures in the shoulder.
Shoulder injuries often cause intense pain and inability to move the arm and are often treated with surgery, followed by intense physical therapy. You may have to leave work for a while and get help with daily tasks, which can amount to significant financial damages for which you may be able to claim compensation.
There are many ways in which you could injure your head at the gym, including falling off a treadmill and hitting your head on another machine or slipping due to wet floors. Head injuries can range from minor bruises or bumps to concussions and traumatic brain injuries.
A severe brain injury can permanently affect the victim’s ability to function and may result in them needing full-time care and assistance. If the gym staff or owner failed to take all reasonable measures to prevent an accident, you might be able to claim gym injury compensation.
Regardless of the trauma you suffered, if someone else was responsible for it, you might be able to make a gym injury claim. To find out if you have a valid claim, you can enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 678 1410 to speak to a legal adviser.
Who is responsible for accidents in a gym?
While you may suffer an injury at the gym through nobody’s fault, some accidents are entirely avoidable and may entitle you to make a gym injury claim.
Under the Occupiers Liability Act 1984, the gym owner must take all reasonable measures to keep the premises safe and minimise the risk of injury, both to visitors and the gym staff. Some of their duties include:
- Carry out careful risk assessments to identify possible hazards.
- Review the manufacturer’s guidelines on how to safely use the equipment and machinery.
- Consult with employees to find out if they identified any additional hazards.
- Determine whether some groups of people may be at greater risk for injury, such as pregnant women and users with disabilities.
- Implement proper measures to eliminate or reduce the risk of injury to an acceptable level. These may include warning signs, supervision of the gym and detailed instructions on the equipment.
- Ensure the equipment is safe to use and in good working order.
- Provide employees with adequate training so they can help customers when necessary. The training should include fitness training, so they know how to use all machinery, health and safety training to carry out their duties safely, and first aid training.
- Ensure that all new gym members receive a detailed induction before they are allowed to use the gym equipment. This should include health and hygiene information, stretching strategies, dress codes, putting equipment away and reporting defects.
- Carry out regular checks and maintenance of equipment and the environment. It is vital to regularly examine the gym layout, temperature, equipment and machinery, the building and the cleaning procedures.
Fitness instructors and other staff members are also responsible for ensuring good health and safety practices in the workplace and have a duty to:
- Comply with all the rules and company guidelines
- Take all reasonable actions to eliminate or minimise hazards
- Make good use of personal protective equipment and safety devices
- Not endanger the health and safety of colleagues and visitors through their conduct
- Be familiar with emergency and evacuation procedures and equipment
The staff members must report all gym accidents and injuries to the appropriate health and safety representative and keep them recorded in an accident log book. Employers must subsequently investigate all accident reports and take adequate actions to prevent them from repeating.
If the gym staff or owner has failed in their duty to protect your health and safety on the premises, you might be able to make a gym accident claim.
How much compensation can I claim for a gym injury?
Estimating how much gym injury compensation you might receive at the beginning of your claim is difficult, as there are many variables. Once your solicitor has evaluated the extent of your injuries and the financial losses you incurred, they will be able to give you a fair estimation of your settlement prospects.
Your gym injury claim will include two types of damages:
General damages awarded for your pain and suffering, which takes into account:
- Physical pain and disability
- Mental anguish and psychological trauma
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Loss of amenities such as the ability to pursue a hobby
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of prospects and enjoyment of life
- Any other impacts your injuries have had on your personal life
Special damages awarded for economic losses, such as:
- Past and future lost wages
- Travel costs such as petrol and parking
- Medical expenses such as prescription fees and private treatments
- Modifications to your home or vehicle to improve your quality of life
- The cost of replacing or repairing damaged items
- Cost of rehabilitation and physical therapy
- The cost of care and assistance during recovery, even if provided by a family member
Because general damages do not have a monetary value attached to them, it can be challenging to calculate fair compensation for them. Solicitors and courts usually refer to similar cases and the guidelines published by the Judicial College. Based on their guidelines, you could receive:
- Up to £11,730 for mild ankle injuries such as sprains, strains or dislocations
- Around £36,060 for a very severe Achilles injury causing permanent stiffness and instability
- £1,960 to £6,300 for moderate back injuries with complete recovery within two years without the need for surgery
- £85,4700 to £151,070 for severe back injuries causing damage to the spinal cord and permanent disability
- £2,810 to £3,790 for a wrist fracture or mild soft tissue injury with recovery within a year
- £19,530 to £31,220 for a severe wrist injury leading to permanent disability
- £19,200 to £39,170 for an arm fracture, depending on the severity
- £24,740 to £171,920 for severe hand injuries leading to amputations or permanent disability
- £14,690 to £30,050 for a moderately severe elbow injury resulting in mobility issues but not severe disability
- £11,980 to £18,020 for severe shoulder dislocations
- £7,780 to £12,010 for minor leg injuries with full recovery within a few months
- £22,340 to £37,070 for moderate knee injuries causing ongoing discomfort and chronic pain
- £23,460 to £36,120 for a neck injury leading to significantly reduced mobility
- £12,210 to £37,760 for a fractured skull and a related concussion
Can gym injury claims be made on a no win no fee basis?
Most personal injury claims are funded with a no win no fee agreement. This is the preferred way to claim compensation because it involves no financial risks for the claimant.
When you first get in touch with a solicitor, they will ask you some questions about the circumstances of your accident and the extent of your injuries. If they believe you have grounds to make a gym injury claim, they will offer you a no win no fee agreement, which means that they will:
- Represent you without asking for any upfront fees.
- Help gather evidence, speak to witnesses and prepare all the legal documents while you can focus on your recovery.
- Arrange a free medical exam with an independent doctor to assess the full extent of your injury and how it might affect you in the future.
- Address any immediate medical or rehabilitation needs you may have.
- Consider how the accident affected every aspect of your life to determine how much gym injury compensation you are owed.
- Contact the defendant and negotiate a settlement on your behalf.
The conditional fee agreement states that if your gym accident claim is unsuccessful, you do not have to pay anything to your solicitor; you only have to pay them a success fee if you win. The success fee cannot exceed 25% of your compensation for general damages and past financial losses and will be discussed and agreed upon from the beginning.
Your solicitor will also take out After the Event (ATE) insurance on your behalf. The ATE policy is a legal expenses insurance that provides full financial coverage for legal expenses and disbursements such as:
- The cost of medical and police reports
- Expert witness fees
- The other side’s solicitor fees
- Court fees
- Travel expenses related to litigation
- Barrister fees if your case goes to court
If you win compensation, the defendant will have to cover all your legal expenses, and you will only have to pay for the ATE insurance premium and your solicitor’s success fee. If you lose, you will not incur any out-of-pocket expenses, as you will be covered by the no win no fee agreement.
How long do I have to make a claim?
As a general rule, the time limit to start a gym injury claim is three years after the date of your gym accident. Alternatively, the three years begin to count down on the date of knowledge, meaning the moment you were reasonably expected to understand that:
- The injury you suffered is severe enough to take legal action
- Your losses are attributable to the negligence of another party
If you do not claim gym injury compensation before the claim limitation date, your case becomes statute-barred, and you will no longer be able to take legal action. In any case, you should never wait too long to speak to a personal injury solicitor following an accident.
As a general rule, the sooner you begin your claim, the easier it is to collate evidence, speak to witnesses and build a strong case. Furthermore, your solicitor can help you get access to the best treatments available and possibly secure interim payments for urgent financial needs.
There are several exceptions to the three-year time limit to start a gym accident claim, such as:
- A litigation friend could claim on behalf of a child at any time before their 18th birthday. Once the child reaches 18 years old, they can start a claim themselves up until they turn 21.
- There is no time limit to make a gym injury claim on behalf of someone who cannot handle the case themselves. This could be due to a pre-existing condition or a traumatic injury caused by a gym accident. If the victim regains their ability, they will have three years to claim compensation.
- If you suffered an injury while on holiday abroad, the time limit to start a claim may depend on the foreign country’s rules and may be as short as six months.
- If you suffered a gym injury while serving in the military, even if you were off-duty, you could claim through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) within seven years of the accident.
- If you were the victim of an assault or another violent crime within a gym or fitness centre, you have two years to claim criminal injury compensation through the CICA.
- You can make a fatal accident claim on behalf of a loved one within three years after the date they died.