Visitor Question

Claim for injuries from fall through health club floor?

Submitted By: Dennis (Slidell, Louisiana)

I was riding an upright bike and got off the bike and was walking to another machine. I took a step on a cut out on the floor that was covered with carpet where the electric cords came up to the machines in the walkway.

I fell through the floor and my foot and leg went in up to my hip. This was a second-floor area and no subfloor. I had a hard time getting my foot out of the hole.

My injuries were cuts and bruising on my leg that went through the floor. My left leg was bent back behind me. I injured my calf and took 3 months to get better. I also had a stress fracture by my toes in the foot that went through the floor.

After my toes healed, my foot was still sore and we found a stress fracture in my navicular bone. This would not heal and I had to have foot surgery resulting in my foot bones being fused.

Can I make the health club pay for my injuries? Thanks for any information you can give me.

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 Dennis,

You have a good chance of making the health club pay for your injuries.

Take a look at the paperwork you signed when you joined the gym. If you don’t have a copy, the health club has to give you one.

Gyms Often Use Liability Waivers

You’re looking for a “liability waiver.” If you see one, this is a contract between you and your health club.

A liability waiver prevents gym members and their guests from filing any legal action against the gym’s ownership and management.

If you never signed a waiver, then you are free to file a claim against the health club and its insurance company for your injuries.

Even if you signed a waiver, though, you could still make a strong case for making the gym pay for your injuries.

Claims for Gross Negligence

Gyms are liable to members for acts of “gross negligence,” and these acts defeat a waiver of liability.

“Gross negligence” means that a health club caused a victim’s injuries out of a “reckless disregard for customer safety.” The facts of a case will determine whether this took place.

The circumstances leading to your injuries suggest that the gym was grossly negligent. The gym did not drill just a few holes through the floor to run some cords through it. It cut out an entire section of flooring. Further, rather than setting up some signs warning of the danger, the club simply threw a carpet over it to cover it up.

The fact that your entire leg went through the hole is important. It shows that the hole was of considerable size. Add to this the fact that the hole was on the second floor, with no sub-flooring.

The size of the hole and the risk that something could fall through it make the act more than simple negligence.

Again, the gym never warned of the danger. It merely covered it up with carpeting. The cover-up probably makes the act rise to gross negligence.

There does not appear to be a Louisiana statute that directly applies to acts of “gross negligence” or even “willful misconduct.” However, there has to be Louisiana case law that applies to your situation.

It’s wise to contact a local attorney to see if your state’s negligence laws do include special considerations for acts of gross negligence.

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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