Visitor Question

Cable broke and weight hit my head…

Submitted By: J (San Diego, CA)

My injury occurred May 24, 2014 at branch of a national fitness center chain on Miramar Rd in San Diego. I was using machine. When I pulled on a cable, the pin, which is spring loaded to lock, broke and it dropped from the 3 position all the way down, striking me in the head.

I then realized I was bleeding down my head/face. A gentlemen came over to help when he saw what happened. He helped me to the locker room were staff assisted me until paramedics came. I was checked and they said I needed to go to the hospital.

I declined the ambulance ride and had my girlfriend come pick me up. Then I went to urgent care to receive treatment. The hospital bill was $678. Is there anything I can do? Is the gym responsible for this? I know I signed a release, but their machine broke? Thank.

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 J,

While you may have signed a release with the national fitness center, such a release normally covers injuries such as slip and falls, minor cuts and bruises, etc.

The courts have traditionally held while releases are valid for injuries arising out of “normal” negligence, like normal wear and tear, wet floors, and the like, releases usually don’t cover injuries arising out of gross negligence or a wonton disregard for the safety and well being of a patron.

It is arguable your injuries resulted from the fitness center’s gross negligence. That gross negligence may be based on the fitness center’s failure to properly inspect and identify the cable’s frailty.

While we don’t have access to the machine or cable, it’s probable the cable snapped after having splintered or frayed over time. Over time the fitness center, through its employees, should have noticed the splintering or fraying of the cable. Their failure to do so may indicate they failed to make reasonable inspections of the machine.

If they had, they probably would have noticed its poor and dangerous condition. This is further supported because the machine is one which, in and of itself can be very dangerous.

Moreover, if the cables were supposed to be changed at regular intervals and the fitness center failed to make those changes, that failure can be argued to have constituted a wonton disregard for your safety and well-being.

This argument may be completely defeated if the fitness center can prove it did in fact make reasonable inspections, and those inspections didn’t indicate any splintering or fraying, and/or it wasn’t time to have the cable changed.

Learn more here: Injuries in Gyms and Fitness Centers

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 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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