Here in Florida we’re obsessed with physical fitness. About 20% of us over the age of 14 are gym members. Mostly of the big-box chain gyms. There’s a smaller sector of standalone fitness centers and boutique studios. Personal training is a major upsell for every fitness center. In addition, there’s an active sector of independent personal trainers. Inevitably, there are injuries, and so claims. Hence, personal trainer negligence and liability are issues familiar to South Florida personal injury lawyers.
NO LICENSING, NO INSURANCE MANDATE
The State of Florida doesn’t license personal trainers. The law doesn’t require them to have liability insurance. A facility’s insurance generally covers its employees, including personal trainers. Many independents carry insurance, too. But they’re not required to. And so some don’t.
The personal training industry is fully aware of their exposure to liability risk. The industry’s first line of defense is the liability waiver. With a sound waiver in place, a plaintiff’s task is indeed harder. He or she must prove a more serious level of negligence. Gross negligence. When “…defendant’s conduct was so reckless or wanting in care that it constituted a conscious disregard or indifference..” to the plaintiff’s safety.
PERSONAL TRAINER NEGLIGENCE AND LIABILITY
In a recent suit against a gym and a personal trainer employee, the insurer paid a settlement of $2.25 million. The trainer had insisted a 130 lb. female client wear a 50lb. weight vest while stair climbing. The client sustained moderately severe spinal injuries. She had to have two surgeries.
Plaintiff’s lawyers argued that the trainer had ignored the client’s pleas to stop the exercise. He’d demanded she continue despite her complaints of pain. Thus, gross negligence, trumping the waiver she’d signed.
People considering an independent personal trainer should confirm that he or she has insurance. If the trainer requires that clients sign a liability waiver, it’s wise to retain a copy of it. Most of us are not qualified to judge a trainer’s formal qualifications. The State of Florida, in fact, doesn’t require them to have any. Neither do some liability insurance providers. Still, an active certification by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) or Fitness Institute International (FIT) is reassuring.
If you or a loved one has been injured during personal training, you need legal help. Call our experienced Boca Raton personal injury attorneys right away. Even if you don’t think you have a case. After all, the initial consultation is always free. You don’t pay us unless we recover monetary damages for you. You’ve got nothing to lose, and justice to gain.