$2,250,000 Settlement for Gym Member Injured After a Personal Training Session
In the case below, a 28-year-old woman was injured as a result of a personal training session at a New York City gym. She was using a stair climber with a 50-pound weight vest placed on her and complained about the pain, but her personal trainer told her to keep going. As a result of the personal trainer’s and the gym’s negligence, she suffered injuries to her lumbar spine requiring surgery. Represented by Block O’Toole & Murphy, she received a $2.25 million settlement.
Court and County
Supreme New York
Age and Occupation of Plaintiff
Plaintiff was 28 years old on the date of the accident. Plaintiff was a recruiter for Bear Stearns when the accident occurred.
Facts and Allegations
Plaintiff was completing a personal training session at the gym on the day of the accident. She was using a stair climber and had a 50 pound weight vest placed on her. Her trainer had her climb up and down stairs ten times, during which she complained of pain, but her trainer told her to keep going. Plaintiff weighed only 130 pounds at the time of the incident. After completing the exercise with the weight vest, she felt tenderness in her lower back and complained of muscle soreness, which then radiated into her lower extremities. The pain only progressed in the coming days.
Plaintiff claimed the health club and its personal trainer were both negligent in its services. She further stated that because her personal trainer was supposedly qualified in supervising the use of equipment, she had no reason to disregard his instructions, even when she made complaints during the workout, which her personal trainer promptly dismissed. The Defendants claimed that the Plaintiff assumed the risk of an injury by using the equipment in the gym. They also claimed that the personal training was serviced appropriately and that the vest was safe to use for resistance purposes because it would not put stress on an exerciser’s joints.
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Plaintiff followed up with her doctor three days after the incident, complaining of continued lower back pain, and then began conservative treatment. Her doctor then ordered an MRI, which revealed that Plaintiff’s condition was worse than anticipated. She was diagnosed with a herniated disc in the lumbar spine, resulting in two back surgeries. First, she underwent a partial hemilaminotomy and discectomy. Then, Plaintiff underwent a required fusion surgery with hardware.
Plaintiff argued that the use of the weight vest on the stair climber in conjunction with one another resulted in her lower back pain and surgeries. She further argued that the gym and personal trainer were negligent in providing a safe environment in which to exercise. The defense, on the other hand, argued that the lower back injuries were part of a pre-existing condition, and were, therefore, not causally related to this incident. They further argued that the Plaintiff assumed the risk of using the machines in the health club, so neither the gym itself nor the personal trainer was negligent or responsible for her injuries.
Plaintiff made claims for past and future medical expenses, as well as past and future pain and suffering.
The parties negotiated a $2,250,000 pretrial settlement.
This case was handled by Partner Jeffrey A. Block.