If you thought fitness centres could be taken to courts for negligence, only in foreign countries, you may want to read this. Time are changing in India as well.
The Mumbai Suburban District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum recently directed the Talwalkars Fitness Club to pay Rs 1.5 lakh compensation to a Kalbadevi lawyer who suffered a serious elbow injury during workout at its gym in 2007.
The injury happened within the fitness club’s premise, which was undergoing renovation work at that time.
Because of this, the gym equipment were moved to a smaller room on another floor which made the room overcrowded. On August 30, 2007, when Pandit was on the cross-trainer machine, his left elbow hit the wall and he sustained injury. He alleged the club did not have any First Aid facilities and an employee applied an ice pack on the injured elbow.
Once reaching home, it only got worse, because of which Pandit’s wife took him to a doctor who suggested that surgery was necessary. Because of the surgery, Pandit could not use his arm for more than a month and hence suffered a major impediment at work.
The club did not respond to a notice sent by Pandit, informing them about his mental agony and professional losses he had suffered.
Aggrieved Pandit filed a complaint with the Mumbai Suburban District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum on July 17, 2008. In the reply, the Club contended that Pandit had not injured himself in the gym but elsewhere.
The Forum said it was proved that Pandit was a gym member at the time of the incident. It said the fact that the club had failed to respond to two notices sent by Pandit proved his version. ‘If the complainant’s version was false, then the opposite party would have replied and denied the allegations. It would not wait until the complaint was filed with the Forum,’ it observed.
While calculating the compensation amount, the Forum took into consideration the advocate’s monthly income and concluded that for the loss of a month-and-a-half income, medical expenses and agony suffered, he should receive Rs 1.50 lakh.
In the past, many such instances have taken place (not necessarily with Talwalkars), but most of the time the members didn’t take legal recourse or just gave up after having a verbal fight with the management, here’s one case where a model was hurt in an Andheri gym.
However, with this instance, where the court held the Talwalkars Fitness club guilty of deficiency in service, probably more members would take the legal route to get compensated for their injuries suffered due to negligence on part of the gym owners.