Sports and Recreational Activity Accidents

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 What Is A Personal Injury Claim?

In a claim for personal injury, a plaintiff claims that they have sustained an injury, either mental, physical, or both. This injury is due to an act or failure to act by the defendant. A court may award the plaintiff money damages for personal injury, which will be further discussed later on.

Mental health injuries include emotional pain and anguish sustained by an accident, such as PTSD. Physical injuries include injuries to the organs, limbs, or other parts of the anatomy. It is important to note that the injury sustained by a personal injury plaintiff does not need to manifest itself instantly, as many injuries develop over time.

A personal injury may occur intentionally, such as when a defendant deliberately injures a victim, or intends to commit an act that they know will result in injury to another person. A personal injury may also occur unintentionally. If an unintentional injury is the result of someone’s negligence, the plaintiff may file a lawsuit based on the negligent behavior.

Auto accidents, slip and fall accidents, and injuries sustained from medical malpractice are all considered to be examples of negligence cases. An intentional injury occurs when a defendant’s deliberate act or intent to commit an act injures a plaintiff. Some specific examples of when intentional injury occurs would be when a defendant commits battery, assault, or false imprisonment.

A negligence personal injury claim is one in which the plaintiff claims that a defendant injured the plaintiff as a result of breaching a duty of care that the defendant owed to the plaintiff. If a plaintiff can show that this breach caused injury which then resulted in damages, the plaintiff has made a claim for negligence.

The duty of care that is owed to a plaintiff largely depends on the circumstances. A defendant is under a legal duty to exercise the same degree of care that an ordinary person would use under a particular set of facts. An example of this would be how if a defendant is driving their vehicle on a highway in non-inclement weather, the defendant has a duty to follow all applicable motor vehicle laws.

However, if the defendant is driving their vehicle on a one-lane road and the weather is stormy and inclement, the defendant owes a greater duty of care. What this means is that the defendant must exercise the degree of care that is appropriate for inclement weather, such as driving at reduced speed, using windshield wipers, and using headlights and taillights.

Whether a duty of care to a plaintiff exists largely depends upon the foreseeability, or predictability, of harm that may result if the duty is not exercised. The test for whether a plaintiff is owed a duty of care asks whether an average person, in the position of the defendant, could foresee that the type of injury sustained by the plaintiff was likely to take place.

When the answer is yes, the defendant owes the plaintiff a duty of care. If the defendant breaches that duty which causes an injury resulting in damages, the defendant has committed personal injury through negligence. When the answer is no, no duty is owed, and the defendant cannot have committed negligence.

What Are Some Of The Most Common Examples Of Injuries Resulting From Sports And Recreational Activity Accidents?

In a legal context, recreational activities are defined as sports and physical activities that are engaged in for pleasure and leisure during free time. These activities include sports such as dirt bike racing and baseball, and recreational activities such as camping and hunting. While some of these activities can be leisurely, they can also be associated with various risks of injuries and accidents that can occur during the course of play. Under some circumstances, these injuries can be serious or severe, especially for activities that involve higher degrees of skill or more demanding playing conditions.

Any type of physical harm that is caused by someone else is considered to be personal injury, as was previously discussed. The injuries that can occur from sports and recreational accidents can range from mild to severe, depending on the nature and fast pace of the activity. Such injuries include:

  • Cuts and bruises;
  • Simple to severe strains and sprains;
  • Lacerations;
  • Broken bones;
  • Burns; and
  • Concussions.

Additionally, some sports and recreational accidents can involve injuries to many people at one time. An example of this would be cases involving equipment failure, or other similar issues.

Injuries are considered sports injuries if they are incurred by a person who was participating in a sporting event. Sports injuries are divided into two categories, traumatic impact and overuse. A traumatic impact injury is one that is a strike or blow, while an overuse injury occurs from the repeated use of a specific body part.

Can I Sue For A Recreational Or Sports Injury?

You may be able to sue for a recreational or sports injury depending on how the injury occurred, and whether you signed a consent form. A consent form is a waiver which releases the organization or person from liability if an injury occurs. In some cases, an injured person who has given their consent by signing a waiver may be prevented from recovering compensation for any injury that they suffered.

A person who sustains a sports injury may sometimes be able to sue an organization or individual for their negligence in the causation of the injury. To reiterate, negligence is the failure to use the level of ordinary care that a person in the same or similar circumstances would use. The elements of negligence are:

  • Duty, meaning the defendant owed a duty of care to the injured party, such as the duty to follow the sports rules;
  • Breach of duty, meaning that the defendant breached the duty, such as when they violate rules of play;
  • Causation, meaning the defendant was the actual cause of the person’s injuries; and
  • Damages, meaning the person’s injuries can be calculated into monetary amounts.

A plaintiff must prove each element in order to win the lawsuit. An example of this would be how if a basketball player breaches their duty to follow safety rules during play, they may be liable for injuries if their conduct caused the injuries and those injuries were measurable and calculable.

An injured plaintiff who proves that a defendant is liable is entitled to compensatory damages. According to personal injury law, a plaintiff can recover two types of damages: damages for an injury, and damages for the consequences of the injury. Additionally, there are two types of compensatory damages, which are known as general damages and specific damages.

General damages are awarded for the injury itself. These damages generally include:

  • Pain and suffering;
  • Mental anguish; and
  • Trauma. General damages cannot be readily assigned a monetary value. As such, in order to recover these damages, the testimony of an expert such as a physician or psychiatrist is necessary to assign a monetary value.

Special damages compensate someone for a specific consequence of an injury. Specific consequences include medical expenses and loss of wages, which can be assigned a precise monetary value. An example of this would be how a doctor’s bill lists payment due, while a pay stub records a plaintiff’s earnings and can be used to determine the amount of wages that were lost due to the injury.

Do I Need A Lawyer For Help With Sports And Recreational Activity Accidents?

You should contact a personal injury lawyer if you need help determining whether you can file a lawsuit.

Your personal injury attorney can help you understand your state’s specific personal injury laws, and how your legal rights and options can be affected by those laws. Additionally, an attorney will also be able to represent you in court, as needed, should you choose to file a lawsuit.

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