Sports Law Lawyers

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What Is Sports Law?

Sports law deals with athletic competition at all levels. Legal issues involving contracts, personal injury, and discrimination are commonplace in sports law.

Can I Sue My Coach or School for an Injury I Received while Participating in a School Athletic Competition?

Probably not. Most courts are shielding schools, coaches and athletic associations from liability for personal injury lawsuits brought on by athletes. The courts have relied on the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk in justifying such holdings.

Primary Assumption of the Risk

Primary assumption of the risk is a legal doctrine that holds that an individual who participates in an activity that contains an inherent risk of injury and is subsequently injured, cannot sue for those injuries because he or she "assumed the risk" of such injury. For example, a high school baseball player cannot sue his school or coach for injuries he sustained from being hit by a pitch while batting.

Where Sports Lawsuits May Be Successful

Although the courts do not look favorably upon personal injury lawsuits by athletes, there are circumstances that may justify a presumption against primary assumption of the risk. The following circumstances may justify an athlete's personal injury claim:

What Types of Discrimination Are Permissible in Sports?

There is only one type of discrimination that is acceptable in athletic competition: discrimination based on physical ability. The law prohibits all other types of discrimination.

Contracts in Sports Law

Contract law is a major part of sports law. All professional athletes have contracts specifying how much they will be paid for their services. Regardless of the sport, these contracts are often worth substantial sums of money and are thus, heavily negotiated by sports agents.

Sports Agents

Almost all professional athletes have agents who act on their behalf in negotiating such contracts. Typically, the agent-athlete relationship is governed by a Standard Representation Contract, which defines the duties and compensation of the agent. In an attempt to regulate agent activities, many state legislatures now require agents to register with some type of administrative agency.

Do I Need a Sports Law Attorney?

Almost every aspect of athletic competition today involves sports law. Conflicts that arise implicate legal issues ranging from personal injury to contract negotiation. If you feel that you have a dispute involving sports law, it may be wise to consult with an attorney. Speaking with the proper sports attorney will help inform you of your rights as well as preserve any possible legal remedies you may have.

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Last Modified: 06-29-2011 02:34 PM PDT

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