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Accidents on exercise equipment can be devastating

Many Americans are obese, overweight and out of shape. For those Americans, hearing the advice to start working out is commonplace. The last thing that you expect when you start working out is for it to be bad for your health. That is exactly what might happen if you are injured while you are exercising.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, around 460,000 emergency room visits each year are attributed to injuries because of exercise equipment. The most common piece of equipment involved is the treadmill. That, however, isn't the only piece of exercise equipment that can lead to injuries. Exercise bands, dumbbells and elliptical machines are some of the other ones that can cause injuries.

A recent lawsuit is bringing the dangers of exercise equipment to light. The case stems from an injury that occurred at a 24 Hour Fitness in January of 2011. The 60-year-old woman at the center of the lawsuit fainted while she was on the treadmill. She fractured her skull in several places when she fell. She now suffers from a brain injury that necessitates long-term care. She is seeking $3.8 million to help cover her future care costs and lost wages.

The insurance industry is quick to blame the people who exercise for the accidents. One insurance executive noted that 99 percent of the time, exercise injuries are caused by operator error. He notes that oftentimes, these cases are settled for low amounts because the person who is exercising is often negligent.

He did note that the case against 24 Hour Fitness is unique because it calls the placement of the treadmill into question. Located just under 4 feet from the treadmill where the accident occurred was a metal component of a leg machine. That is much less than the 6-foot deep clearance the manufacturer required for the treadmill, and much less than the 6.5 feet that is recommended by ASTM International.

If you are injured on exercise equipment, you might need to explore your options for seeking compensation. Although the battle might be tough, it might be worth it.

Source: Sacramento Bee, "Brain-injury lawsuit highlights treadmill risks," Claudia Buck, Sep. 26, 2016

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