Dealing with lawsuits is hopefully not a problem that many personal trainers will encounter in the course of doing their jobs, but for some, it’s an unfortunate reality. In much the same way as just about any other type of professional, some personal trainers do end up getting sued when a client winds up injured for one reason or another. It’s a real issue of which trainers have to be aware, whether they work independently or for a gym. As such, having the right kind of liability insurance is vital to anyone who works in this field, simply because one never knows what can happen.
Indeed, in a recent case in the U.S., both a gym and a personal trainer, as well as a doctor, were found liable in the case of a man who had a stroke because he exerted himself too much during exercise, according to a report from the Connecticut Law Tribune. In all, the size of the payout owed by all parties to the man himself was in the tens of millions of dollars.
In this instance, a 42-year-old man went to an Equinox gym in Greenwich, Connecticut, and hired a personal trainer who worked there, the report said. However, while working out on a rowing machine, the trainer – who was found to have not been properly trained on how to help gym patrons use equipment including the rowing machine – put the resistance up to the highest setting and asked the client to complete one “explosive pull.” At that point, the man’s vision blurred and he began to feel something was wrong. Later, he was diagnosed with a right artery dissection and, before doctors could treat that problem, he suffered a stroke. The latter issue is why the doctor ended up being included in the suit as well.
“The case is about a big company that doesn’t bother giving their staff the appropriate training on how to use their own gym equipment,” Victoria de Toledo, the lead counsel for the plaintiff, said following the initial verdict in February, according to the site. “They’re too focused on sales and booking personal training sessions and not focused enough on making sure the training sessions are done safely.”
What’s the lesson here?
While it can be difficult for trainers to predict how a person will react to their workouts, it’s important that they be as cautious as they can be and give the best advice possible, rather than push people to their physical limits. Likewise, having a sound understanding of how all the machines in a given facility work will further help to avoid any incidents, serious or otherwise, that might result in a person being injured or worse.
In addition, it’s a good idea for trainers to make sure they have the right kind of liability insurance, on an ongoing basis. If, after a careful review of their needs and their current policies, they find they need a change, shopping around for the best coverage possible is a very good idea.