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?

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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 its members. It’s common to sustain an injury while exercising. For example, pulling a muscle from lifting too much weight, misusing an exercise machine, or overexerting are typical gym injuries that the liability waiver prohibits members from bringing about legal action.

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

Like other slip and fall accident risks, gym owners are bound by a general duty of care. This means the gym must adequately warn its members 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 need to install drainage systems to prevent water build-up and to 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 club’s negligence. 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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