Regular exercise is essential to good health. However Nebraskans who exercise at a health club or gym must exercise extra vigilance to prevent injury as a result of a recent Nebraska Supreme Court decision.
In Palmer v Lakeside Wellness Center d/b/a Alegent Health and Precor, Inc., 281 Neb. 780, (Decided June 24, 2011) The Nebraska Supreme court ruled that a waiver that was part of a health club membership application released a health club from ordinary negligence.
The Palmer case makes it difficult for consumers to sue a health club for injuries sustained at a health club or gym.
The court used that rule to uphold dismissal of a claim made by a woman who was injured after unknowingly stepping on to a moving treadmill and being thrown against an elliptical machine. The court also dismissed a gross negligence claim because plaintiff had never previously reported concerns about poor lighting concerns and the fact that the elliptical machines were placed so close to the treadmills.
The Palmer case makes it difficult for consumers to sue a health club for injuries sustained at a health club or gym. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself and others at the gym.
- If you see something unsafe, tell management.
- Be careful gettting on and getting off treadmills. Make sure the treadmill is not running before you get on the treadmill.
- Make sure your shoes are tied when jogging on a treadmill.
- Don’t overexert yourself.
Also keep a copy of any waivers or releases of liability you sign when applying for gym membership. The langauge in your waiver might be different than the langauage of the waiver in the Palmer case. If you are injured due to no fault of your own at a health club you should at least take that waiver into an experienced attorney to see if you can make a case for negligence.