Most sports injury lawsuits are based on negligence principles. That is, an injury may occur due to the carelessness of another player or team supervisor, in which the person disregarded their duty of care to the victim. However, many sports injury cases also involve the idea of “consent”. This is where the victim agrees to some or most of the risks associated with playing a particular sport.
For instance, when joining a sports team or league, the participant may be required to sign a liability waiver or a consent form (release form). This is basically a document wherein the signer agrees not to sue the team, league, or other players for injuries that occur as a natural course of the game. This is common for many amateur leagues, especially those that involve light to heavy contact.
What Do Players Usually Consent To?
Most people consent to the rules of the game, as well as any injuries or losses that occur as a natural course of the game. For instance, players who join a youth sports soccer league usually agree not to hold the league or other players liable for injuries that are considered “normal” for soccer games, such as sprains, twisted ankles, or getting hit in the head with a ball.
However, players generally do NOT consent to conduct that is outside the rules of the game. For instance, players and teams generally do not tolerate assaults or violent behavior from another player. In such cases, a player may hold another party liable for injuries resulting from an attack or an assault, especially if the victim did not instigate or start the violent conduct. These can sometimes be filed under civil assault/battery charges, or even under criminal laws depending on the circumstances.
What If I Am Injured but I Signed a Consent Form?
If you have signed a consent form or a release waiver, it can sometimes still be possible to recover damages for losses. You should check the release waiver or consent form and see what types of activities and conduct that it covers. If your injury was outside of the scope of the consent form, it may be possible that you have a legal claim on your hands. You may need the assistance of a legal professional when signing or reviewing a sports activity waiver.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Sports Injury Claims?
Filing for relief due to a sports injury can sometimes be complex, especially if there is a consent form involved. Also, consent can sometimes be determined based on a player’s actions (for instance, if they willingly participate in a physical altercation). You may need to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area if you need help with any legal claims. Your attorney can provide you with advice and representation to help ensure that your rights are protected during the process.