Sporting injuries are physical harm sustained while participating in athletic events or activities.
There are two primary categories of sporting injuries: traumatic impact injuries and overuse injuries.
Traumatic impact injuries involve an impact, such as a blow or strike to the head, while overuse injuries result from excessive use of muscles, like tennis elbow. The majority of these injuries occur during practice sessions in organized youth sports and amateur sports teams.
What Are the Most Dangerous Sports?
Some sports have higher risks for injuries, including contact sports (football, hockey, and rugby), combat sports (martial arts, fencing, wrestling, etc.), extreme sports (snowboarding, BMX biking, skydiving, surfing, etc.), and sports involving shooting themes (paintball, Airsoft, and BB gun sports).
Common examples of sporting injuries include:
- Muscular injuries;
- Broken bones;
- Head, neck, and spine injuries.
What Is Sports Law?
Sports law is an area of law that addresses legal issues related to both amateur and professional sports. It often intersects with labor, contract, antitrust, and tort (personal injury) laws.
Most legal claims involving sporting injuries focus on traumatic injuries, as it is more challenging to hold another person legally responsible for overuse injuries that result from gradual overexertion.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Sporting Injuries?
Several parties may be held legally responsible for sporting injuries, depending on the specific circumstances that led to the injury:
- Coaches and Trainers: Coaches could be deemed negligent if their negligence contributed to the sporting injury, such as ignoring signs of injury or dehydration and continuing to demand participation.
- Equipment Manufacturers: If injuries result from product failure (e.g., malfunctioning climbing gear or defective sports equipment), the equipment manufacturer may be held legally accountable, especially for items like heavy weights or padding.
- Other Players: Teammates or opposing participants may be held liable for unwarranted sports violence leading to a sporting injury lawsuit.
- Facilities: The facility hosting the sporting practice, class, or event could be held responsible for a person’s sporting injuries if it maintains dangerous training premises and does nothing to remedy the situation. If the host facility does not try to rectify this issue, this would likely be a negligence claim.
- Sports Organizations and Leagues: These entities may be held liable for sporting injuries if they fail to establish or enforce proper safety rules and regulations or if they knowingly allow dangerous conditions to persist during games or events.
- Event Organizers and Promoters: Those who organize and promote sporting events could be held responsible for injuries if they fail to provide adequate safety measures, such as ensuring proper medical staff is available. Also, if they fail to address known hazards at the event venue.
- Medical Staff and Athletic Trainers: Medical professionals and athletic trainers attending to athletes during events may be held liable for injuries if they are negligent in their duties. These negligent acts could include providing incorrect treatment, failing to recognize a serious injury, or improperly clearing an injured athlete to return to play.
- Schools and Educational Institutions: Schools and educational institutions that organize and supervise sporting activities may be held accountable for injuries if they do not provide proper supervision, training, or safety equipment. Also, if they knowingly allow dangerous conditions to exist during sports activities.
- Referees and Officials: Referees and other sports officials may be held liable for sporting injuries if they fail to enforce safety rules, make incorrect calls that lead to injuries, or are otherwise negligent in their duties during a sporting event.
- Third-Party Service Providers: Companies that provide services related to sporting events, such as transportation or security, may be held responsible for injuries if they are negligent in providing their services, leading to an injury during the event.
What Are Some Common Issues in Sporting Injury Lawsuits?
A common complication in sporting injury lawsuits is the issue of consent. A person or organization cannot be held liable for a risk of injury that the injured party knowingly consented to beforehand.
As a result, many leagues, sports organizations, gyms, and other facilities require participants to sign a waiver releasing sponsors from liability for injuries that occur as a normal part of the game or sport. Sponsors becoming exempt from injury liability aligns with the “assumption of risk doctrine,” stating that co-participants cannot be held responsible because the injured party voluntarily assumed the risk of potential injury.
However, sports violence is not tolerated, and a lawsuit may be filed if a participant goes beyond the boundaries of consent, such as fighting or unnecessary roughness.
The following are excluded from the assumption of risk:
- Wanton or willful conduct standard, meaning the defendant intentionally caused the injury; and
- Defective or faulty equipment.
What Legal Remedies Are Available for Sporting Injury Lawsuits?
For a successful sporting injury lawsuit, the injured party must provide a strong exception to the assumption of risk doctrine.
Common scenarios where the injured party may succeed include:
- The athlete was unaware of the inherent risk in the activity;
- The athlete’s coach was negligent in some way, such as providing instruction on proper technique to minimize or avoid injury;
- The facility was negligent in providing a reasonably safe environment.
Most sports injury lawsuits result in monetary damages awarded to the injured party. These damages typically cover:
- Medical, hospital, and surgery-related costs and bills;
- Rehabilitation and/or therapy costs;
- Lost wages and/or lost earning capacity;
- Pain and suffering or emotional distress.
In cases involving formally organized sports, such as a city youth sports league, an investigation may be ordered to assess if the league’s standards and policies are acceptable. The investigation could reveal negligence, such as a coach’s training methods that lead to sporting injuries among players. Findings from the investigation could result in remedies like replacing the coach.
Do I Need an Attorney for a Sporting Injury Lawsuit?
If you have suffered an injury while participating in a sport, consult with a skilled and knowledgeable personal injury attorney.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine if you have a viable case and file a lawsuit on your behalf. The attorney can address any questions you may have and represent you in court as necessary. They can also guide you through the legal process, ensuring your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
LegalMatch is an online legal matching service that can help you find a qualified personal injury attorney in your area. By filling out a brief questionnaire about your case, LegalMatch can connect you with attorneys who have experience handling sports injury cases. Having LegalMatch connect you with the right attorney can save you valuable time and effort. LegalMatch’s system will match you with attorneys who have the necessary experience to handle your case.
LegalMatch’s attorney-client matching system is free to use and confidential. You can review attorney profiles, read reviews from past clients, and communicate with attorneys before deciding to hire one. This attorney matching system can help ensure that you find an attorney who is a good fit for your needs and that you feel comfortable working with throughout the legal process.
Don’t wait any longer. Use LegalMatch as a valuable resource in helping you find a qualified personal injury attorney to help you win your sports injury case today.