Wrongful Death at the Hands of Exercise Equipment?

Most people would associate walking or running on a treadmill a healthy exercise and generally safer than doing the same on a public road. And you would be right, most of the time. However, there are cases where because of defective equipment or lack of adequate warnings, injuries and even deaths have occurred.

If my loved one is killed because of a piece of gym equipment that malfunctioned or was not properly labeled with appropriate warnings, is it possible to file a lawsuit and if so, who do I file it against?

Examples of failures that can occur with exercise equipment include:

  • Falling off treadmill or other exercise equipment
  • Treadmills with faulty electrical systems that catch fire
  • Weights that fall because of defective machines
  • Exercise machines that have defective neck and back rests
  • Treadmill belts that have cracks or spills on them that have not been addressed
  • Manufacturing and design defects of the exercise equipment
  • Instructions on how to use the particular equipment is not present

Many accidents, from sprains and broken bones to severe head injuries and death have occurred as a result of these defects or missing instructions.

When a loved one dies as a result of a defective product, families could have legal reasons to file a wrongful death lawsuit against several parties who may be liable for their death. Survivors have two years from the accident in which to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

What can I expect to achieve from a wrongful death lawsuit?

Spouses can receive compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit for the following:

  • Lost income
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of consortium. This consists of damages that a spouse or family member suffers as a result of a death that was caused by the negligence of the defendant. These damages are more difficult to calculate. Some examples of these types of damages include:

    • physical suffering and pain
    • loss of companionship
    • emotional distress
    • loss of reputation
    • mental anguish and shock

Most states only allow a spouse to file for loss of consortium. However, some states will allow a parent or child to file a consortium claim. The parent or child must make a case that without the parent or son/daughter, the relationship is permanently altered because of the accident.

Am I able to sue the company if the equipment has been recalled?

Just because a company recalls a product because of a deficiency, does not release them from liability if an accident occurs. In addition, the recall is usually a result of someone getting injured or even killed from using the equipment. Survivors can file a wrongful death claim regardless of whether or not the equipment has been recalled.

Who do I Identify in a Defective Equipment Claim?

In addition to the manufacturer, a wrongful death claim can possibly be filed against the company who distributed the equipment. If the equipment was used at a gym or hotel, and the owners knew of the defect, they could perhaps be a party to the lawsuit as well.

Hiring a wrongful death lawyer Orlando, FL trusts who is experienced in product liability is important because of the extensive investigations necessary to prove negligence in selling a defective product. Expert analysis from engineers, and other professionals is critical in confirming that the death was caused by the defective equipment.

Understanding how to use the exercise equipment — especially in an unfamiliar gym or exercise room, can help prevent many of these accidents. When in doubt, ask for assistance or take a stroll around town to get your exercise!



Thank you to our contributors at Needle & Ellenberg, P.A. for the above information.