Most of us are not on the lookout for hazards or potential dangers when we go to the gym. We are there to exercise, and we do not consider the many accidents that can occur in an environment like a gym. There is heavy equipment that has the potential to seriously injure folks, showers contributing to slippery locker room floors, and overly hot saunas. The potential for injuries are high.
One gym patron, Mark Watson of Warrenville, Illinois, was injured at Lifetime Fitness when the motion-sensor lights in the locker room failed to turn on. In the darkness he could not see the water on the locker room floor, where he fell and hit his head against the wall. According to Watson's attorneys, he suffered multiple injuries to his back, neck, legs, and feet as well as a concussion.
Because Lifetime Fitness is incorporated in Minnesota, the case had to be moved out of Cook County and into the federal courts. The attorneys for the defendant filed a motion for summary judgement, asking the court to throw the lawsuit out, as they argued that Watson knew, or should have known, that motion-sensor lights turn off after 15 minutes of inactivity. The defense team also pointed out that all gym members are required to sign an assumption of risk and liability waiver. However, the federal courts did not find the defense's arguments convincing, and a hearing was scheduled. The case has yet to be decided, but the decision will most likely revolve around whether or not the motion sensor lights were set to turn off after an unreasonable amount of time.
The question of reasonableness is often central to personal injury lawsuits. Did the restaurant workers behave reasonably when they heated up the food? Did the store employees behave reasonably when they mopped the floor? According to Illinois law, everyone and every business, has an established duty to behave reasonably. This already existing duty plays into the elements that must be met to establish negligence in Illinois — a duty being owed to a defendant, that was breached, and this breach was the proximate cause of an actual injury suffered by the plaintiff.
If You Have Been Injured, Contact Us
Going up against a giant corporation like Lifetime Fitness can be intimidating. They have millions of dollars and easy access to counsel, but you have a right to pursue compensation for your injuries. Our top-notch legal team is standing by to help. As we see above, these are often long fights, and negligent defendants often stop at nothing to avoid their responsibilities. Contact our legal professionals at Newland & Newland LLP. We serve clients in the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca areas.
(image courtesy of Joshua Hoehne)