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New Year, New Injury?

Published on February 13th, 2018 by The Illinois Hammer Injury Law Firm

It’s mid February and New Year’s resolutions are in full swing. Many people make a resolution to eat better and become more active so they can live a healthier life. The best way to follow through on a resolution is to remain consistent, which you can’t do if you’re hurt. Getting an injury when one starts a new routine can be avoided through proper warm up, but what happens if your injury isn’t because you pulled your hamstring while lifting, but due to the negligence of gym equipment or staff?

We often hear questions such as, “I got hurt at the gym from tripping over a barbell. What can I do?” The answer is: your case will heavily depend on the contract and waiver you signed when you joined the gym. Depending on the documents, there may be language that prevents the gym from being liable. Waivers use intentionally broad language. It is imperative to read contracts and waivers before you sign them. Since every waiver uses different language, it is important to have your specific case reviewed.

Here are some examples of fine print and what they mean:

  • Willingly assume is a common phrase that can indicate you are aware of the risks associated with working out. This can include and the possibility of injury, death, negligence by the facility, and defects in the equipment.
  • Release the facility, its principle and its employees indicates that they are no longer liable in connection to your injuries

Waivers are not foolproof. There are situations where a waiver does not protect the gym from liability. Waivers can be challenged in court. For example, a waiver does not protect the gym in a case of assault resulting in injury. A gym is also potentially liable if an instructor told someone to use defective equipment that was already known by the facility to be faulty. If there is proof that equipment was broken or functioning incorrectly, the waiver may be void.

Outside of personal injury cases, while you’re hitting the gym it is important to prevent injury and not hinder achieving your goals. There are several techniques you can follow before, during, and after a workout to prevent injury.

Here are some of the best ways to avoid gym injuries:

  • Listen to your body: The concept “no pain, no gain” can lead to injury. Don’t push yourself so far that you are in pain. If you are just starting a new workout routine, start out lightly and build up to more intense workouts.
  • Proper hydration and nutrition: Don’t forget to drink plenty of water before and after a workout to stay hydrated. Eat healthy food to fuel your body for success.
  • Warm up and cool down: Warming up helps loosen your muscles and prepares them for a workout. Common warm ups are riding a bike, jumping rope, or a five to ten minute jog. Cooling down allows your heartbeat to return to normal and your muscles to start cooling down. A great cool down activity is to walk for five to ten minutes.
  • Don’t forget to stretch: Stretching helps you become more flexible, which reduces risk of injury. If you are new to stretching, start slowly and build up to more intense stretches.
  • Vary your workouts: Switch up your routine to prevent overworking the same set of muscles. Overuse can lead to shin splints and tendonitis. An example of a varied workout plan would be alternating between swimming, running and lifting.
  • Use the correct technique: Incorrect technique can lead to injury. Hire a personal trainer to teach you the correct form. Personal trainers can also help identify a realistic training program to help you accomplish your goals.
  • Wear the right shoes: Make sure your shoes are supportive and replace them when they wear out. Running stores carry a variety of shoes and can help identify the right pair for you.
  • Don’t forget to rest: Your body needs one to two days to recover between workouts. Resting can help prevent injuries due to overuse.
  • Don’t aggravate previous injuries: If you have a previous injury, it is imperative you do not do an exercise that will aggravate the injury. For example, if you have a knee problem, do not use a leg press or stair stepper

We hope you reach all your resolutions and beyond. Please remember the suggestions to prevent injury are not exhaustive. If you are hurt during a workout please seek appropriate medical attention. If you feel that you have had a personal injury due to the negligence of a facility, please don’t hesitate to call our law firm for a free case assessment at 1-800-HurtNow.

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