Woman sues gym for door injury
A RANDPARK Ridge, Joburg north, woman claimed damages after a door at her local gym fell on her when she went to fetch a pool noodle for her water aerobics class, from behind the door.
It emerged that some of the screws holding the hinges together had worn over the years, or it had not been tightly fixed in the first place.
Renuka Devi Ramlal, 58, initially claimed about R800 000 in damages in the high court in Pretoria, from the Gym Company Ltd, in the Parkside Centre, Randburg.
She also brought the claim against Big Time Construction, which did construction work at the gym.
Ramlal settled her claim against the gym last year.
The gym undertook to pay her R57 000, but made it clear that it did not accept liability.
According to the gym, she was not injured due to its negligence, but it agreed to pay her to bring to an end the litigation, and because she was injured while she was a member of the gym.
The construction company also denied any liability, and said it was not negligent. According to the company, it had no idea that the door was unsafe.
The company denied that it was responsible for installing the door in the first place.
Ramlal testified that she was attending her ladies’ water aerobics class in May 2014, when she realised that she had left her pool noodle at home.
As she needed it to participate in the water activities, she left the pool to go home.
The other women, however, shouted at her that she should open the door leading to the pump room as there were some noodles in there.
When she tried to open the door, a portion of it crashed down on her, severely injuring her shoulder.
It emerged that the door pivoted on its frame. The bottom edge was still attached to the hinge, but the top portion moved in Ramlal’s direction.
Ramlal told the court that it was the first time she had entered the pump room, and that she had not previously seen anyone else enter it.
Judge Hennie de Vos said Ramlal could only succeed in her claim against the construction company if it could be proved it had installed this specific door.
Judge De Vos said that from the evidence, it seemed the door had been replaced before the gym opened its doors for business, as there was paint over the screws.
“There can be little doubt that over time, the screw attached to the top hinge loosened up, and eventually the door fell on the plaintiff,” the judge said.
He concluded that the sub-contractor who had done work for Bigtime Construction had done shoddy work by attaching not four screws to the door, but only two.
But Judge De Vos said he could not hold Bigtime Construction liable for this. The judge said the sub-contractor was not a party to the proceedings, and rejected Ramlal’s claim.