Can You Sue for a Sports Injury?
There are different situations where you might sustain a sports injury. Your child could get an injury while playing a sport as well. You may wonder if you can hire a personal injury attorney and sue for a sports injury. It depends.
Some of the most common sports injuries include:
- Head injuries such as concussions or other forms of traumatic brain injury
- Ankle sprains
- Knee injuries like ACL tears
- Broken bones
Some sports tend to be riskier than others, especially for children. For example, hockey, football, and even soccer can be dangerous for kids. A hard hit in a contact sport can lead to a concussion, just as one example.
Can You Sue If Your Child Is Injured?
If your child plays sports and is injured, can you sue?
The general answer is probably not, aside from a few limited situations.
If you engage in certain activities that are considered dangerous, and sports would fall into that category, then you are assuming the risk of injury. It’s called assumption of risk in legal terms.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few limited situations where a parent might be able to sue for their child’s injury.
One factor that could also be applied to an adult sports injury is if another player went outside of what’s typical with the sport.
For example, if someone were to pick up a chair and throw it at a sports opponent, there’s the potential for a lawsuit.
You can sue for things that are intended and done outside of the bounds of a sport.
If your child is playing football and gets a concussion, and there’s nothing outside of the limits of that sport, then no, you probably can’t sue.
What is the Assumption of Risk?
The concept of assumption of risk was touched on above, but it’s a big one with sports injuries. It’s called an affirmative defense in the law of torts.
You are prevented from recovering damages if you are injured, and you voluntarily exposed yourself to a risk that is known to be a danger.
That’s why you’ll notice when your kids participate in youth sports, you have to sign a waiver for them to be able to play.
When you sign these waivers, it’s preventing you from suing the school or the league your child is playing on for an injury that’s inherent to the sport.
Situations When You Can Sue
So, there are a few situations where you could sue for a child or adult sports injury. We briefly touched on them above, but specifically, these scenarios can include first an intentional act.
If your child is playing a sport, and another child does something intentionally that hurts them, then you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
If there is recklessness leading one athlete to injury another, then the other athlete may be held liable for injuries.
Product liability law could apply to a sports injury.
If an adult or a child is wearing athletic gear that is defectively designed or made, which leads to injury, there may be a legal claim.
Another issue where you could have a basis for a civil claim is in the event of negligent coaching. Negligent coaching can occur if a coach puts a player in an unreasonably dangerous situation, for example. Then the coach may be liable for injures as a result.
In some cases, sports injury release forms aren’t enforceable either.
Sports facility owners who operate fields and courts have a duty of care to ensure the area where people play is free of hazards and safe.
Examples of where the property owner could be liable for a sports injury occur if there are rocks that aren’t removed, inadequate lighting, or debris that wasn’t removed.
How is Fault Determined?
In sports injuries cases, if someone gets hurt, there are a few things that are used to determine fault.
First, there needs to be a determination that the situation leading to injury was outside the bounds of ordinary risk. The injury needs to be proven to be the result of negligence or from faulty sports equipment. You might also need to show that an injury was caused by playing on an unsafe court or field.
It can be tough to sue for a sports injury, whether to a child or adult, but not impossible. There are situations where you might have a case, particularly if there’s something outside of the bounds of what would normally be expected during the sport.