Gym Injury and Illinois’ Premises Liability Classifications

As with most of us, you probably want to look and feel healthy; you probably also want to look fit. Exercising in a gym becomes essential in such a pursuit. Yet, this does not come free of risks. For example, if you are an avid gym goer, then you have probably witnessed, or have even been a victim of, a gym-related injury.

According to Baseline of Health Foundation, there are a lot of gym-related accidents and the rate is steadily increasing. Between the years of 2007 and 2012, the total number of reported gym-related injuries increased by a whopping 45 percent!  

While every piece of equipment in the gym may cause personal injury, the piece of equipment that causes the most gym-related injuries is, you guessed it, the treadmill. In the year 2014, alone, there were 20,400 treadmill injuries. Looking at gym equipment as a whole, not solely focusing on treadmills, a significant number of personal injuries result from defective equipment rather than human error.

The Relevant Illinois Law

If you are injured in a gym, you may be entitled to compensation. Your compensation can include, but is not limited to, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life.

First, however, please note that if your gym-related injury is a result of mere human error, you may be barred from recovery pursuant to Illinois’ assumption of risk rule of law. Yet, please also note that there are specific exceptions to this rule. Becoming injured as a result of defective or faulty gym equipment is one exception to Illinois’ assumption of risk law.

As stated above, gym-related injuries often result from defective gym equipment. Even if you are injured at the hands of faulty equipment, however, it is still necessary establish the elements of negligence: duty, breach, causation and harm.

The first element of negligence requires you to show that the gym, or gym owner (Defendant), owed you a particular duty of care. This duty of care varies according to what Illinois’ premises liability law classifies you upon entering the gym.

For example, according to the Illinois Premises Liability Act, Illinois classifies people that enter property of another. Illinois recognizes invitees, licensees and trespassers. An invitee or licensee is a person who enters one’s property for the benefit of the property owner. For instance, these include shoppers at a store or an individual paying to workout in a gym. A trespasser is a person not invited onto another’s property yet enters it unlawfully.

A property owner owes invitees and licensees a specific duty of care to protect them from a danger that may pose an unreasonable risk of bodily injury, when the invitee or licensee may not reasonably discover, or have knowledge of, the risk (such as defective gym equipment), and taking reasonable steps to protect the invitee or licensee from injury. As for trespassers, a landowner only owes a duty to refrain from willfully or wantonly injuring the trespasser.

In one recent case, a man was broke his arm, requiring surgery, when he tripped over a set of electrical cords and conduits at Life Time Athletic in Vernon Hills. The judge in this case held that the man was a trespasser at the time of his injury. Instead of checking in at the front desk, per gym policy, he decided to explore the gym on his own. The judge held that, with his trespasser classification, the gym did not owe a duty of reasonable care.

Take Action

In all, if you suffer from a gym-related injury, it is imperative that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney. The Illinois personal injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti are here for you! Call us today at (312) 332-2872 or toll free (877) 374-1417 to schedule a FREE consultation.


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