Visitor Question

Personal trainer’s bad advice causes injury…

Submitted By: Anonymous (Jacksonville, Florida)

I took advantage of a free hour with a personal trainer at LA fitness. He told me to work my muscles on the machines to fatigue. He did not tell me to stretch beforehand or after – leading me to wake up in the morning, after having done this for a month or so, with pain in my calf.

After seeing my primary physician, physical therapist, my chiropractor, a neurologist, and finally an orthopedic surgeon, we discovered through an MRI that I have a meniscal tear and MCL strain in my knee. This has resulted in three months of pain so far, using a walker and cane, not being able to take a walk, dance, go out with friends and generally have had to put my life on hold.

Basically I have been unable to do anything except lay around in pain for all this time while I do physical therapy every day to try to get my body back on track.

I have since heard from the medical professionals that the personal trainer’s advice was really bad and it led me into my current situation. That I should never have been fatiguing my muscles, but rather working gradually up to greater weights. They also did not understand why he did not advise me to stretch prior to exercising.

Yes, I definitely think he is responsible for my injuries, which are permanent by the way. Meniscus tears don’t really heal. My insurance has paid for medical bills but I still have hundreds of dollars in co-pays and tons of pain and suffering. Do I have a case?

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 Anonymous,

It is likely that before you received the free one hour training session you signed a Release or Waiver of Liability. Most fitness centers have members and prospective members sign releases of liability before being allowed to work out in the facility. If that was the case, any claim of negligence, other than gross negligence, would likely be summarily dismissed.

Based on the facts, the trainer’s apparent failure to tell you to stretch before beginning your workout, and to work out to muscle fatigue does not appear to have been negligent. While the trainer may not have advised you to stretch before beginning a workout, it is common knowledge stretching before exercising is important. As a result, you do not appear to have the basis of a personal injury claim.

There are differing opinions of the effect of muscle fatigue and physical fitness. Some believe muscle fatigue is a catalyst which propels the muscle to regenerate at a faster pace. It would be difficult to prove liability in a case like yours. To get a more specific answer as to the extent of the personal trainer’s liability, you would be best served by speaking with a personal injury attorney in your area. Most reputable injury attorneys give free initial consultations.

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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