Gyms are great places to work out, lose excess weight, and in general keep ourselves in better physical shape. Unfortunately, with all of that heavy equipment being used and liquids being spilled constantly from dropped or overflowing water bottles, they are also the site of frequent injuries like:

  • Sprains
  • Pulled muscles
  • Broken bones
  • Brain and spinal cord injuries from slips and falls

If you’ve ever purchased a gym membership in New York, then you almost certainly signed a waiver absolving the gym of all liability in the event that you get hurt while working out. But are they actually enforceable if the gym really is at fault for a member’s injury?

Waivers and New York Law

Under New York General Obligations Law 5-326, written liability waivers in connection with certain public establishments are unenforceable. To be more precise, they cannot be enforced in any written contract or agreement concerning the use of recreational facilities such as gymnasiums, pools, and similar locations. There are some exceptions but in general, any attempt by these establishments to absolve themselves of liability due to negligence will be unsuccessful.

For this law to apply to your gym membership, the following must be true:

  • The membership agreement must be between you and the manager or owner of the gym
  • You must be paying them for your use of the facilities, typically in the form of membership fees
  • The liability waiver must seek to absolve the gym manager or owner from liability from their own negligence and that of their employees or agents, such as staff and personal trainers

If this happens to be the case, then the manager or owner of the gym will not be able to use your signed membership agreement to protect themselves from negligence liability. If a poorly trained employee gives you incorrect instructions on how to use a piece of equipment or the staff fail to clean up or isolate a spill within a reasonable amount of time and you are injured as a result, then you retain your right to sue the gym no matter what you signed to the contrary.

If you attempt to seek compensation for your injuries, then you can expect the gym and its employees to refuse to settle. Like any business, its bottom line is important and the owner or manager will not admit that your injuries were due to the facility’s negligence. This is where a good personal injury attorney can make a huge difference in your case.

If you are injured at your local gym and negligence appears to be a factor, then contact a New York personal injury attorney who can help you sue and recover damages for medical bills, loss of income, and other losses. If a recreational facility attempts to blame you when its staff are untrained or the equipment is in poor condition, then your attorney will ensure that you get justice.

Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx, NY lawyer who handles personal injury cases. Over the past 35 years, he has helped recover millions of dollars to help clients pay their medical bills, make up for lost wages and be compensated for pain and suffering in the past and future. Mr. Lutzky offers free in-person initial consultations and his office can be reached at 718-514-6619. Visit to learn more about Mr. Lutzky.