Sports Injury Lawyers
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What is a Sports Injury?
A sport injury is any type of injury sustained by a person who participates in a sporting event. There are two basis types of sports injuries: those caused by traumatic impact (such as a blow or strike to the head), and those caused by overuse of a particular body part (such as tennis elbow).
Sports law claims encompass a broad variety of different injuries, such as broken bones, head injuries, joint injuries, and sprains.
Generally speaking, most legal claims involving a sports injury will involve a traumatic injury rather than an overuse-type injury. One cannot be expected to hold another person liable for injuries that are simply due to overexertion over time. On the other hand, if another participant causes injury to another participant, it may form the basis of a civil lawsuit.
How do Courts Deal with Sports Injury Claims?
The general view of sports is that they are physically demanding and can sometimes be dangerous. Sports activities always involve some degree of risk to the participant, particularly for contact sports and “extreme sports”.
Therefore most courts hold that the participant assumes the risk of injury by agreeing to participate in a sport. In fact, it is common for most sporting facilities to require athletes to sign a release clause that relieves the facilities from legal liability for injuries.
On the other hand, there are several different legal theories upon which a sport injury lawsuit can be based. Most of these involve conduct which is outside the agreed-upon rules of the sport.
What types of Legal Theories are involved in Sport Injury Lawsuits?
Sport injury lawsuits can involve two basic types of legal theories: negligence, and wanton or willful conduct. These legal theories are applied differently depending on the nature of the sport.
Negligence is the basic legal standard in most non-contact sports such as track and field, golf, or tennis. In a contact sport such as football, the defendant’s conduct usually must be wanton or willful in order to be held liable.
Some of the aspects of each legal theory are as follows:
- Negligence standard: If a player or coach’s negligence causes another’s injury, they can be held liable for damages. Negligence requires proof that the defendant breach of duty of care caused the plaintiff’s injury. An example is where a player fails to abide by safety rules of the game.
- Wanton or Willful conduct standard: The “contact sports exception” states that a defendant is liable only if their conduct was wanton or willful. This means that the defendant acted intentionally in causing the injury. The level of force usually exceeds the normal force exerted in the contact sport. An example of this is where a player engages in a fistfight during a football game.
It should be noted that even in a non-contact sport, a coach or other supervisor can be held liable for causing a sport injury. For example, if a coach forces a person to play until the point of exhaustion, it could be considered as negligence. Sport injuries can sometimes involve spectators as well.
What are the Remedies for a Sports Injury claim?
The legal remedy in a sports injury suit is usually monetary damages. A defendant who is found to be liable may be required to reimburse the plaintiff for expenses associated with the sports injury. These may include hospital bills, medication costs, and other expenses such as lost wages.
Violations involving wanton or willful conduct may result in further penalties. For example, it is common for a judge to require the defendant to pay punitive damages for their intentional acts. Punitive damages can result in a relatively high monetary award; however, some jurisdictions place limits on the amount of punitive damages that can be enforced.
Do I need a Lawyer for help with a Sports Injury case?
Sports are meant to provide fun and recreation; however if you have been injured during a sports event, you may wish to contact a lawyer for advice. A personal injury attorney can help you recover the costs that you expended on your injury. It is very helpful if you can provide your lawyer with a written account of the incident, as well as any documents and witness testimony related to the injury.
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Last Modified: 01-21-2015 10:05 AM PST
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