One would think that in a world where sweat, water, and obstacles are commonplace that there would be a major problem with slip and fall hazards. But the world of sports and exercise does an excellent job of making sure that most of the professional sports venues and exercise gyms are safe. With so much going on in a gym or sports venue, a slip and fall accident is unfortunately inevitable. The secret is to know how to avoid a slip and fall accident after a gym workout, and learning how civil courts go about proving negligence if you are injured.
It Can Happen To The Best Of Them
To understand the impact a slip and fall accident in a gym or sports venue can have, we can look at the story of Eugenie Bouchard. The Canadian athlete was 20-years-old and on her way to the U.S. Open when she decided to play a doubles match one night and then went by herself towards the training room. The room was dark when she entered, which means she did not see the slick cleaning solution on the floor. She slipped and fell onto her back, and she also injured her head on the way down. She missed the U.S. Open and has not been able to play competitive tennis since.
In 2018 when she was 23, Bouchard and the United States Tennis Association (USTA) came to a settlement in her lawsuit that made the former tennis star very happy. Despite Bouchard entering a dark room after hours and by herself, the civil courts found that the USTA was 75 percent at fault for her injuries. In proving negligence, Bouchard was able to take home 75 percent of an undisclosed settlement.
This case shows how unpredictable gyms and sports venues can be, and how easy it is to become seriously injured from a slip and fall accident. It also shows that it is difficult to predict how a court will react when it comes to proving negligence in a slip and fall case. Bouchard has not played since the incident and has not indicated whether or not she will ever play professional sports again.
The Most Heinous Offender
The idea that every gym in your town is filled to capacity on January 2 of every year is pretty well-known, but that common punchline also comes with some tragic side-effects. Millions of people take on new gym memberships at the start of each year, and it often difficult for the staff at each gym to keep up with the blast of demand. This sometimes leaves gym workout novices to feel compelled to try equipment on their own, and that means injuries.
One of the biggest offenders when it comes to slip and fall accidents in gyms is the treadmill. There are many ways a treadmill can cause a slip and fall accident, and that even includes when the treadmill is turned off. New gym members not watching where they are going in a crowded gym could trip over a treadmill or its power cord. New gym members who do not properly wipe down a treadmill after using it leave the handles and tread slippery for the next user. Considering the popularity of the treadmill, all of these situations add up to become very dangerous for gym users.
The Gym Obstacle Course
When a gym is in use, there can be equipment and workout gear left all over the floor to create slip and fall hazards. A jump rope left laying on the floor can trip a person walking into it, or someone could step on it and the rolling action would cause a fall. Free weights, towels, and other gym gear carelessly left lying around can also become big problems for gym users.
Most gyms have staff members who are diligent about reminding members to avoid leaving slip and fall hazards behind. Some gyms even have a system in place that immediately voids the memberships of repeat offenders. As diligent as many gyms are with keeping walkways safe, there will always be that one person who leaves something behind that can cause an issue.
The Locker Room
Whether it is the local gym or a professional sports venue, the locker room is always a source for slip and fall accidents. A locker room environment is what caused Eugenie Bouchard’s injury, and it is the type of place where countless slip and fall accidents occur. In some cases, proving negligence against the facility owner is not easy.
If you are running around with bare feet in a wet locker room, then you are going to have a hard time proving that your injuries were anybody’s fault but yours. But as we saw with Bouchard’s case, it is possible to prove negligence on the part of the facility manager or owner and help an athlete to get the compensation they need to move on with their lives.
When it comes to safety in a gym or professional sports arena, there are three simple rules you should follow.
- Always look where you are going and expect potential obstacles.
- Be aware of the footing where you are and act appropriately.
- Never use any equipment improperly. Always get trained by a professional on equipment before using it for the first time.
A gym is a very active place and, when it is busy, it can be a dangerous place. While it is up to management to keep the facility safe, it is also up to the members to use common sense to avoid injuries and slip and fall accidents.
What Should You Do If You Are Injured?
As part of your responsibility in preventing slip and fall accidents in a gym or sports facility, you should always follow the rules as laid out by the staff and any signs that are in places that are easy to see. But if you follow the rules and still get injured, then there are a few things you should do to protect yourself and your future.
- Get medical treatment immediately. If you slip and fall, get help from the staff before moving in any way. The staff is trained to help with accidents and you should follow their instructions. If you do not follow staff instructions when you are injured, then you run the risk of becoming the only negligent party in your fall.
- Get witness statements as soon as you can. In a gym or sports arena, there are usually people who see your slip and fall accident. You or someone you know should ask those witnesses for their names and contact information so they can be asked for their story when necessary.
- Hire a qualified attorney immediately. While a gym is a dynamic place, it is not out of the question that staff negligence caused your slip and fall accident. But because of how difficult it can be to keep a gym completely safe from slip and fall incidents, it takes a qualified and experienced attorney to prove your case. You should hire an attorney as soon as possible to allow them access to information that is fresh and witnesses that can still remember their stories.
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After the New Year, the gyms of America are filled with people who want to be healthier in the coming year. That surge of new members can create dangerous situations in even the most professional facility. Professional athletes and part-time exercise enthusiasts should always be aware of potential slip and fall situations in gyms and professional sporting venues, and they should know what to do if they are the victim of a painful slip and fall accident.