Visitor Question

Liability for slip on wet floor in the aerobics room after it was mopped?

Submitted By: Steve (Los Angeles, CA)

Earlier this week, I went to the gym at 8am. Upon entering the aerobics room (a large room with wooden floors that members sometimes use for stretching, and other things when there’s no class in session), I slipped on the floor and went flying up in the air, landing on my leg the wrong way, injuring it.

One of the employees I noticed afterwards had just mopped the room, and never put up a sign or anything warning people of the wet floor.

I was the only person in the room at the time of the fall.

The paramedics came, but I couldn’t take the time to go to the hospital because I knew that would make me late for work, and of course that was the day I absolutely could not be late for work.

I’m limping and haven’t had the time to go to my doctor yet due to my schedule.

On my membership form, I actually did indeed sign the release of liability that you speak of earlier which clears them of any fault, even if it WAS there fault.

My thought though is that may fall under gross negligence.

After mopping a floor, is it not gross negligence that there was no warning sign put down to warn members of the wet floor?

I have not been able to work out due to the pain in my leg, and I will be going to my doctor tomorrow for an x-ray. Is a case like this worth pursuing, even though I signed one of those waivers? Truly appreciate your input.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Steve,

Most fitness centers have membership contracts with releases of liability similar to the one you refer to. Unfortunately, in most cases the releases are binding.

They are binding primarily based on the legal theory of “assumption of risk.” The courts know fitness centers, gymnasiums, and other entities which cater to exercise, can be dangerous due to perspiration, heavy weights, wet floors, and more.

So those who decide to become members of a fitness center do so with “imputed” knowledge there always exists some form of danger. Therefore, members assume a reasonable risk of injury.

The assumption of risk theory presumes the event which precipitated the injury was one which is common to fitness centers and to those who exercise there.

In other words, as a member, you knew or should have known the floor may have been slippery due to perspiration from those who may have been recently exercising on it, on accumulated slippery dust, and from a recent mopping, even though a caution sign wasn’t present. The burden was upon you to be careful.

This legal theory though does not apply to fitness centers who were grossly negligent or who acted with “wonton disregard for the safety” of its members.

In your case, there doesn’t appear to be evidence of either gross negligence or a wonton disregard for your safety. As a result, you likely do not have a viable personal injury claim against the facility.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: July 26, 2014

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