Visitor Question

Shoulders Injured After Trainer Didn’t Correct Improper Machine Use…

Submitted By: Corie (Barrington, IL)

I recently went into a local health club to inquire about a 2 week free trial membership. One of the personal trainers gave me a tour of the facility. She briefly demonstrated one of the machines that involved using pulleys. When I tried it, I couldn’t figure out how to properly use it and told her so.

I tried several times, asking her to demonstrate again so I could see proper usage, and continued to try. She stood by watching me struggle and I even said it hurt. Not once did she interrupt me to either directly assist, stop me before I injured myself, or show me again how to use it.

Several weeks later, I noticed that it was excruciatingly painful when I lifted my arms – felt/still feels like my shoulders are popping out of the socket. Finally, I figured it was because of my experience at the gym. Is the gym liable? Do I have any recourse against the gym for the negligence of this very young trainer? Thank you.

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.


Dear Corie,

The problem you have is with the time delay. There is no doubt the owner of the fitness facility will take the position your injuries occurred after you were at the gym and because of a separate unrelated event.

Unless you cried out in pain while at the gym and some sort of incident report was created, or you have a witness who is willing to testify he or she saw you cry out in pain while using the equipment, your chances of success are further diminished.

Moreover, even you don’t seem to be sure your injuries were the direct result of your experience at the gym. You say, “Finally, I figured it was because of my experience at the gym.” Unfortunately, that’s just not enough.

To successfully pursue the matter would require a medical narrative from a physician causally linking your pain to the event. That will be nearly impossible.

Finally, at this point, inasmuch as you haven’t been to a physician, you haven’t yet been diagnosed with an injury. While no one doubts you were in pain, pain in and of itself, without an apparent injury, is difficult to substantiate. Without proof of an injury, you have no case.

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: May 6, 2016

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