The “safety stops” on the Smith Press Machine are designed to catch a barbell when a user falls. When a gym facility fails to provide this feature or machines are used with the stop set too low, weight-lifters can be severely injured. In 2008, a jury awarded $18.6 million to a man who became a quadriplegic after using one of these machines.
Need a Texas Smith Press Machine Lawyer? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one was injured by the Smith Press Machine, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit in Texas.
UPDATE: Cybex Recalls Smith Press Machine
August 29, 2018 — Cybex International Inc. recalled about 15,000 Cybex Smith Press plate-loaded weight-lifting machines because the weight bar can fall, posing serious injury hazards to the user. Cybex has received 27 reports of injuries, including serious injuries of paralysis and spinal fractures.
What is the Smith Press Machine?
The Smith Press Machine is a self-guiding piece of exercise equipment that is manufactured by Flex Equipment Co. It is primarily used for squats and bench presses. During the exercise, the barbell glides vertically on a fixed column and it does not move laterally. This is supposed to improve safety because the user does not have to work as hard to stabilize their body throughout the exercise.
- Dead stop: Sets a minimum height the bar can fall.
- Adjustable stops: Allows users to move the minimum height the bar can fall.
What is the problem?
The adjustable stop and the “dead stop” are essential safety features that are designed to catch a falling barbell when a user collapses. Experts warn that the stops should be no lower than 28 inches. If either stop is set too low, the barbell can crush a user’s spine or neck and cause severe injury, paralysis, or even death.
The problem is that some gyms do not provide this safety feature on equipment. In other cases, manufacturers sell equipment with a dead stop that is too low to prevent injury. Users should always adjust the stop to an appropriate height before using the equipment.
Smith Press Machine Lawsuit Results in $18.6 Million Award
Los Angeles Times — In 2001, Harold Leon Bostick was doing squats at a Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach, California. He was using the Smith Press Machine with several hundred pounds on the barbell. When he fell, the barbell crushed his spine. The “dead stop” was set too low at 21 inches and there were no adjustable safety stops installed on the machine.
Bostick sued Gold’s Gym and the manufacturer of the Smith Press Machine, Flex Equipment Co. Bostick offered Flex and its insurer a settlement of $1 million. Attorneys for the insurer recommended settling, but the insurer refused and the lawsuit went to trial. A jury awarded Bostick $14.6 million, of which Gold’s Gym was ordered to pay $7.3 million.
Frustrated by the outcome, Flex gave Bostick permission to sue their insurance company. This resulted in an additional $11.3 million in 2008. In total, Bostick was awarded $18.6 million.
How to Prevent Injuries
In general, injuries involving exercise machines occur due to an error by a user, facility (gym), or manufacturer of equipment:
- Users can minimize the risk of injury by learning the proper way to use exercise equipment, warming up, using adjustable stops and catch rods in between sets, and progressing from lighter weights to heavier weights.
- Facilities can minimize safety hazards by providing safe equipment, supervision, providing clear warnings and instructions, and ensuring clients are properly trained.
- Manufacturers of exercise equipment are also responsible for designing equipment with safety features and providing instructions on how to use equipment responsibly.
Smith Machine Class Action
The Clark Firm, LLP is nationally recognized as a class action law firm. However, our attorneys are not filing a Smith Machine class action. Instead, we are focusing our efforts on individual lawsuits for people with the most serious injuries and/or disabilities caused by exercising with this product.
Need a Smith Press Machine Lawyer in Texas?
Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged.
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The Clark Firm has assembled a team of trial lawyers with more than 100 years experience, participation in over 600 jury trials and $260 million in verdicts and/or settlements. Please use the form below to contact our Texas Smith Press Machine lawyers for a free lawsuit review.