Paintball is a popular game in the United States. Although paintball is considered relatively safe compared to other aggressive, outdoor sports, injuries are still quite common. Serious injuries can especially result in proper safety equipment is not worn. If a player is shot in the eye without a protective mask, the impact can result in blindness.

Some common injuries that can happen during a paintball match or paintball activities include:

  • Eye injuries;
  • Chemical exposure injuries;
  • Slip and fall or trip and fall injuries;
  • Cuts and lacerations;
  • Broken bone injuries;
  • Sprains and muscle strains;
  • Injuries resulting from collisions with other players or stationary items; and/or
  • Various other types of injuries.

What Types of Legal Claims are Available for Paintball Injuries?

There are three general legal claims to paintballs injuries: negligence, defective product, and battery and assault.

Negligence occurs when the players were unreasonably careless or reckless. And as a result of their carelessness or recklessness, the victim got injured. For example, if the paintball company did not provide players with protective wear even though they know the great force that the paintballs can yield, it could lead to liability.

In order to prove negligence, it is necessary to show that a duty of care was owed, that the duty of care was breached, that the breach of duty was the direct cause of the person’s injuries. An example of this is where a player breaches their duty to follow the rules of the game (such as not shooting a player at close range). If the breach of duty directly causes injuries to another player, they might be found liable under negligence laws.

Defective product claims are where the manufacturer made the product incorrectly and dangerously. And because of that, the paintball products injured the players. In this instance, the victim may be able to sue the manufacturer, reseller and distributor.

Three types of defective product categories are usually involved. These are: design defects (failures with the way the product is engineered, such as a poor paintball gun safety latch); manufacturing defects (errors in the way the paintball product is assembled, such as a failure to include an important screw); and warning defects (failure to include proper safety labels or instructions).

Assault and battery occurs when the players in the game acted intentionally to hurt the victim. Simply shooting the paintball as a part of the game will not suffice, but where the player had a motive to hurt another will suffice. This is measured by intentional ill-will.

This can be a difficult claim to establish, as the ultimate purpose of paintballing or playing with paintballs is to purposefully shoot each other. So it must be established that the injury from shooting each other was on purpose.

However, assault and battery can apply in situations where a person used a paintball gun to shoot another person who is not armed and unaware of the circumstances. Essentially, someone who is not playing a game of paintball. In these cases, a clear case for assault and battery can be established.

Are there Defenses to Paintball Injury Lawsuit?

Two common defenses to paintball injuries are assumption of risk and consent. Assumption of risk is when a paintball player understands the risks involved with certain activities, conduct, or actions, yet proceeds with the activity anyway.

For instance, if they are told not enter a certain area of the paintball arena because there are trip hazards there, and yet they proceed to enter the area, their ability to recover damages may be affected. 

Similarly, the consent defense may be raised in instances where the paintball player has consented, or agreed, to certain circumstances occurring. For instance, they may sign a consent waiver that says that they consent to the risks involved in a normal paintball game (such as light bruises or other similar injuries).

However, by playing the game, even though you assumed the risk and consented to by hit by a paintball, it is possible for defenses to fail. For instance, a person still might be able to recover damages even though there was a consent waiver or other similar agreement in place. An example of this is where the player is injured due to the extreme negligence or recklessness of the paintball company.

What are the Legal Remedies in a Paintball Injury Lawsuit?

Paintball injury cases can often be serious and may involve some complex legal theories. A lawsuit may be needed in order to allow the injured party to recover damages and resolve any legal disputes. In most injury lawsuits, the typical remedy will be a monetary damages award.

The damages may cover losses and expenses such as medical bills, hospital expenses, lost wages (for instance, from missing work during recovery), pain and suffering costs, and other losses.

In cases where many persons were injured from the same type of cause, a class action lawsuit may sometimes be filed. This is commonly the case when defective paintball products are involved, as they have the possibility of injuring many people.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Dealing with a Paintball Injury?

If you have been seriously injured while playing paintball, you should consider speaking with a personal injury lawyer. An attorney can evaluate your case and determine if another party is responsible for paying for your medical bills and other expenses.