Do I have a claim if I am injured playing sports?

Sports Injuries

Sports Injury ClaimMillions of sports injuries occur every year, ranging from minor injuries such as bruises to more serious injuries that require hospitalization. Many sports injuries are an accident due to the nature of the sport and no one is to blame. However, injuries due to another person’s negligence may entitle you to compensation for the expenses and suffering incurred as a result of the injury.

Assumption of Risk

When your child participates in a sport at the club or school level, there is always a risk of injury. For the most part, these risks are generally expected and assumed by the participant. Assumption of risk means that the participant knows that there are risks associated with doing the activity or sport, but they choose to take part regardless. These are known as risks that are inherent to the sport. For example, if you are running with the football and are injured while being tackled in a normal manner, this is a risk that is just part of playing football. The injured participant knew the activity could possibly result in physical injury but decided to assume the risk in order to participate. A participant who incurs injuries due to the nature of the sport is not able to receive compensation for these damages because the individual assumed the risk upon participation of the sport or activity.

Situations Where an Individual Can Sue

  • Negligence – Coaching negligence is one of the most common situations where a person can sue for an injury. If a coach puts a player in danger and injury results, they may be held responsible for damages. This includes a coach overworking a player to the point where strenuous exertion causes fatigue or injury.
  • Intentional Acts – If another player intentionally injures your child you may be able to sue them for any losses or damages. The most common situations where intentional injuries occur include fights or contact after the play is over.
  • Product Liability Law – Defective products and equipment that relate to the injury, including failure of protection, may give rise to a potential claim or lawsuit.

Teachers, coaches, or athletic personnel are largely responsible for providing a safe environment to protect participants from negligence. These efforts include making sure the activity and the environment are both safe, ensuring safe and appropriate equipment, and observing safety standards. Injuries that result due to a coach’s mistake or failure to make reasonable safety efforts are considered negligent and the coach may be held liable for damages or the injuries incurred.

Types of Sports Injuries

Any sport you or your child plays assumes some variable of risk, however, some sports carry more risk than others due to the nature of the sport. The sports with the highest rate of injuries are basketball, baseball or softball, football, hockey, soccer, and cheerleading. These injuries can range from contusions and lacerations to broken bones, soft tissue injuries, tears, concussions, and spinal cord injuries. Some common sports with their most common types of injuries are listed below.

  • Basketball – knee and ankle injuries
  • Baseball/Softball – Soft tissue injuries such as rotator cuff shoulder injuries, elbow sprains, and muscle and tendon injuries
  • Football  – Serious head and neck injuries, fractures, and concussions
  • Hockey – Shoulder injuries; broken collar bones, dislocations, concussions, and muscle strains
  • Soccer – knee and ankle sprains, foot injuries, wrist fractures, and concussions
  • Cheerleading – Leading cause of Sports injuries in young women from stunts and gymnastics

Waivers and Forms

Most sports injuries fall within the margins of “assumption of risk” and would not be eligible for compensation. However, if the injury resulted from coaching negligence, faulty products or equipment, intentional acts, or recklessness, a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer in Tampa, Florida from a law firm like Jeff Murphy Law knows that you may be eligible for compensation with legal action. Most organized activities or sports require the participant to sign a consent form in order to participate in the activity or sport. The waiver and/or forms might include conditions that prevent the participant or parent/guardian from suing the school, athletic league, or other participants for injuries that occur as a result of the ordinary risk of the sport or activity.

However, if you signed a waiver and you or your child were injured by negligence, faulty products, or intentional acts, contact a personal injury attorney to see if the waiver is valid. Many “releases” are held to be invalid for failing to use the appropriate language. Also, sometimes the owner of the property or grounds where the activity or sporting event took place can be at fault for not properly maintaining the area of play. Waivers are not always valid especially in cases where the cause of injury was due to negligence.

If you have questions or think you may be entitled to compensation, it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney. Jeff Murphy Law has represented injury victims and their families for over 30 years. Though based in Tampa, FL, Jeff Murphy Law has successfully sued several high schools and universities in Florida, South Carolina, and California; if you or a loved one have been injured while playing a sport, call Jeff Murphy Law today for a free consultation.