A tennis club, as an operator of premises for use in sports activities, has a duty to exercise reasonable care in protecting its patrons from injury. As a result, tennis clubs may be held liable for injuries suffered by a tennis player if they fail to exercise reasonable care. Most claims resulting from injuries suffered at tennis clubs involve questions of slip and fall, a kind of premises liability.
Tennis Player Injury Legal Issues
Can a Tennis Player Sue a Tennis Club for Injuries?
Tennis clubs are not strictly liable for all injuries suffered by tennis players on their premises. A tennis player assumes liability for all of the obvious and foreseeable risks that are normally associated with playing the game of tennis. So, a player cannot recover damages for injuries that result from the ordinary risks that are inherent in playing the game.
Additionally, recovery for injuries may be barred if the tennis player is contributorily negligent, meaning that their own actions contributed to their injury or may have made the injury worse than it otherwise had to be. In these cases, the tennis club’s liability may depend on its degree of negligence.
Tennis players are not responsible for assuming extraordinary risks that are not normally incident to the game. They may sue for such injuries as long as the player does not know about the risk and has not voluntarily assumed it.
Players may also sue if they sustain injuries resulting from an obstacle or defect in the court that the owners of a tennis club knew about and yet did not fix.
What Factors Determine Whether a Tennis Player May Sue?
If a person or entity is liable for a sports injury, the injured party needs to show that the responsible party did not take reasonable care in their activities. An injured party could make a case for this against the party they claim is responsible for their injury, which could be a tennis club facility, league, or even coaches or trainers.
If a player is coached or trained, adequate instructions regarding safety and training about the rules of the sport need to be provided. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) publishes rules for tennis and offers training for the official rules, regulations, and scoring of the game.
Any person who may supervise the play must require players to wear protective equipment. Again, the USTA has information on its website about proper clothing and equipment for playing tennis. There must be proper supervision by the coaches or trainers at all times. One player should be well suited to another.
There are many possible ways in which one person involved in tennis might be liable to another. Although, of course, tennis is hardly the most dangerous of sports. Protective equipment is not worn during play. If a player suffers an injury, it is often because they voluntarily made a move while trying to hit a ball that proves to be a wrong one.
Still, club owners of courts must provide safe areas for play. People who supervise play must enforce rules, and if someone is injured, the proper treatment must be provided to help the injured player.
Some of the factors that might play a role in determining whether someone other than a player might be liable for a player’s injury sustained while engaged in playing tennis are as follows:
- The nature of the cause of injury: If the danger was open and obvious or the tennis club had notice of its existence, the club is more likely to be liable;
- Whether the player was contributorily negligent;
- Whether the player knew of the danger;
- Whether other past accidents resulted from the danger before the present incident;
- The cost of repairing the defect weighed against the seriousness of injury that could result.
What Are Examples of Injuries That a Player May Sue For?
Some examples of the type of accident that might lead to injury for which a player might be able to sue a tennis club are as follows:
- Slipping and falling on leaves negligently left on the tennis court by the tennis club;
- Tripping on a seam protruding from a court, which the tennis club had noticed and failed to repair.
Of course, accidents can happen in any part of a tennis club or other facility where people play tennis. If an accident can be attributed to negligence on the part of the facility owner, the player might have a case for premises liability. A few examples of the kind of ordinary conditions on property that can be dangerous and result in accidents are as follows:
- Weather-related conditions, such as sleet, ice, or accumulated snow on driveways, sidewalks, and parking lots;
- Spills on the floors of food service areas;
- Dangerous chemicals or other substances that are not handled and stored properly;
- Criminal activity;
- Buildings that are not properly designed, built, maintained, or cleaned.
The owner of premises can be liable if a condition of this type exists because the owner created it. Or the owner or their agents created it. An owner also has not inspected the property to learn of the hazard or remove it. The owner can also be liable if they fail to warn visitors to the property of the presence of the hazard. Any of these acts or failures to act would be negligence on the part of the owner of the premises.
Most premises liability claims happen because the property owner was negligent. However, a premises liability claim can also result from a property owner’s intentional or reckless conduct in allowing a dangerous condition to exist on their property. For example, if a property owner sets traps for animals or possible trespassers, this would be intentional conduct of a sort that could lead to liability for the owner.
What Are Examples of Injuries That a Player May Not Sue For?
Some examples of the type of accidents for which a player would most likely not be able to recover damages successfully are as follows:
- Falling and getting injured while trying to hit a ball;
- Colliding with a trash bin on an adjacent court after voluntarily chasing a ball into that court;
- Running into a stone wall while chasing a ball;
- Slipping while playing on wet courts after a recent rainfall;
- Tripping on balls or other items that are left on the court by the player or that the player knew were there.
Again, the possibilities are endless, and these are only a few examples. But, again, the point is that if a player is involved in an incident that they themselves cause, they would be unlikely to recover damages from a tennis court facility owner.
In addition, tennis players are subject to injuries to their muscles, tendons, and bones because of overuse from excessive playing and play in a style that is overly aggressive. A tennis club would not be liable for injuries of this type.
Do I Need the Help of a Lawyer for My Tennis Injury?
If you have been injured in a tennis club and you believe that another person might be liable, you want to consult a personal injury lawyer.
LegalMatch.com can connect you to an experienced lawyer who can review the facts of your case and determine whether a tennis club or other person or entity might be liable to you for damages. Your lawyer will assess your injury and its cause and be able to tell you how to proceed.