Making New Years resolutions is a time-honored tradition and many people in South Carolina likely resolved to begin exercising more this year in order to get healthier. While exercise can help you lose weight, fight disease and feel better in many ways, there are also some risks to using exercise equipment.
If you are injured by a faulty exercise machine or by unsafe conditions at your gym, you need to understand the legal options that you have. A Charleston personal injury lawyer can help you to pursue a claim under premises liability laws or based on strict liability for defective products.
Exercise Equipment Can Cause Serious Injury
Exercise equipment can be very dangerous when it malfunctions. NBC News reports that each year around 50,000 visits to emergency rooms occur when people get hurt while using exercise equipment. Treadmills are particularly high risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report 575 serious injuries occurred because people fell off treadmills, tripped over them or tripped on them.
Recently, one exercise injury made headlines because it happened to involve a senator. According to the Los Angeles Times, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid was working out when his exercise equipment malfunctioned. A resistance band on the machine snapped back and struck the senator in the face. This resulted in the senator falling and hitting other equipment on the way down. Reid broke several ribs as well as several bones in his face in the fall.
Problems with resistance bands are cited as one of the leading causes of exercise injuries, but they are far from the only problem. The Health-I-Team indicates that there has been a 45 increase in injuries sustained while exercising between 2007 and 2010.
During the same time period when the number of injuries was going up, there were many defects identified in exercise equipment that exacerbated the problem. For example, in 2007 there were 4,600 treadmills recalled because the treadmills could overheat and start on fire. In 2008, there were 20,000 treadmills that had to be recalled because the machines would suddenly speed up while people were using them to work out. Prior to this time, in 2005, there were also 16,700 treadmills that had to be recalled because the machines were prone to electric shock.
Manufacturers of exercise equipment need to be sure that it operates safely before it is released to the public. They are held accountable for all injuries that occur as a result of defects, regardless of negligence.
Gym owners and operators, on the other hand, are responsible for the health of their patrons but can only be sued for injuries if the gym owners are unreasonably careless in a way that leads a member to get hurt or killed.
Those who are starting an exercise routine this year need to be sure that they have checked that the equipment they are using has not been subject to a recall, and they need to make sure they use the equipment as directed by the manufacturer to try to reduce the risk of getting hurt. If injury happens, contact a Charleston accident lawyer for help making your claim.