If you have been involved in an accident during yoga leading to injury, then, you may be able to consider seeking legal recourse. However, your ability to sue your Yoga instructor for demonstrating certain poses which may have caused your injury depends on certain factors. Some of the factors that may affect your chances of suing the instructor include having signed a waiver at the beginning of the class which absolves the instructor of all injuries and accidents which you may be involved in as a result of participation in the exercise. In other cases, the instructor may have warned participants not to attempt practicing such poses until they are ready to, in which case, the individual may forfeit his or her chances of pursuing an insurance claim or filing a lawsuit. To better understand the fine lines of such cases as this, it is recommended that you speak first to an Orange County spinal cord injury attorney or a personal injury attorney in your area.
During an average yoga class, an instructor will most often have participants stretch out and practice various positions before getting into the poses for the day. However, during the course of the class, several poses may be assumed, some of which are incredibly simple while others may be harder to approach and potentially dangerous. Some of the most common dangerous poses will involve acrobatics, handstands, headstands, and some sort of body contortions. The instructor in some cases may require that participants work together, helping one another achieve some positions on mats for a better surface.
While some exercises may be prolonged, others may be short depending on the decision of the instructor. During the duration of these poses, participants may suffer injuries, some mild, moderate and in rare cases, fatal injuries like spinal cord injuries. In the case of significant damage resulting in injuries affecting the neck, back, head, spinal cord and more, the participant may choose to seek the counsel of a personal injury attorney in order to determine whether they have the right to file a lawsuit against the instructor or the facility. The lawyer will be in a better position to help such an injury victim determine whether or not they have a case to pursue.
What about a waiver?
In most cases, yoga instructors understand that there may be some form of injuries resulting from a variety of reasons and to keep themselves protected, they may offer a waiver for the participants to sign upon entry into the class. In the event that a participant signs such documents as this, the gym facility and yoga instructor are absolved of the responsibility of accidents which occur as a result of participation in such a class.
With a waiver in place, the yoga instructor is allowed the flexibility needed to perform even the most complex poses and teach them also to interested candidates. In many industries, a waiver has become the go-to legal means of saving face and preventing lawsuits which may arise as a result of injuries or dissatisfactory services. If after signing a waiver, the participant or student sustains any degree of injury, they are liable to see to the treatment of such an injury without involving the facility or the yoga instructor.
In general terms, with or without a waiver in place, a yoga instructor will not take responsibility for a student’s injury as this will be in violation of their insurance policy (if any), and also places them at the mercy of the law. Instead, the yoga instructor may prior to performing some poses, advise against participation based on the level of expertise.
In cases where an individual becomes too forward, trying out certain poses and positions before the yoga instructor advises such, then, the fault is totally credited to the student for his or her negligence. The instructor, however, may become the at-fault party if they choose to teach certain dangerous or difficult positions like the headstand without giving the student the adequate supervision needed to perfect such a position and to prevent injury. Overall, a yoga instructor may be held liable if he or she fails to consider some of the most important factors such as age, health conditions, need for supervision, and level of expertise when teaching yoga moves.
Who is Liable?
Same as in every personal injury case, the liable party is one that has been found to be negligent, whether the yoga instructor or the participating student. A yoga instructor may be held liable if he or she does not have the needed expertise to teach a class. In most cases, matters like this often fall back on the owners of the facility where the accident had happened such as gyms and fitness centers.
This is because the yoga instructor may have been absolved of such responsibilities as this as part of their contract with the facility making them an independent party in the instance of accidents and injuries. In addition, the liable party may also have a waiver that protects them from most lawsuits.
In some cases, a person who has decided to do a headstand or other dangerous poses knowing fully well that he or she is yet to attain such a level of expertise may be held accountable for their injury. In most yoga classes, this is often the case as each participant is held liable for the injuries they sustain as a result of participation or failure to follow due process as taught by the yoga instructor. During most yoga classes, participants are afforded the opportunity to back out of certain poses and activities based on their lack of confidence or expertise, failing health and other factors.
When such a case as this is presented in court, the court will apply reasonable factors, considering whether the yoga instructor has appeared to be negligent in carrying out their duties. However, in cases where the injured individual knew they could not perform the pose and went ahead to attempt it leading to a personal injury, then, he or she retains the sole responsibility for the accident.