Liability for Sports Injuries
Most people who play contact sports are aware that they are at risk of sustaining some sort of injury. For this reason, players are generally prohibited from suing a third party for causing their injuries. However, there are some situations where a third party’s negligence can cause or contribute to a victim’s injuries, so if you were hurt while playing a sport, you should consider consulting an experienced personal injury lawyer who can explain your legal options.
Theories of Liability
Third parties, such as coaches, teachers, school administrators, and other players are usually immune from liability when it comes to sports injuries sustained by players. This is because players are considered to have assumed the risk of playing a dangerous sport. Football players, for example, can hardly be surprised if they are tackled during a game. However, this usually only applies to injuries that occur within the normal scope of the activity in question, so gym owners, personal trainers, coaches, and other players can be held liable for sports-related injuries when:
- The injury sustained was out of the bounds of ordinary risk assumed by the players;
- The injury was sustained as a result of a third party’s intentional, reckless, or grossly negligent conduct; or
- The owner or operator of the field or sports facility did not undertake standard safety measures and so increased the risk of harm to the participants.
When a sports injury is caused not as a result of the game itself, but because of an unsafe condition on the field or surrounding area, the property owner could also be held financially responsible under the legal theory of premises liability for:
- Failing to remove debris;
- Using poor lighting;
- Failing to fill in holes or pits; or
- Failing to fence the property as required.
Coaches who do not provide proper equipment, such as pads or helmets can also be held accountable for a player’s injuries, as these individuals are still required to take reasonable measures to prevent harm to their players. This includes providing adequate supervision, ensuring that the players are properly instructed, and warning the players and their parents (if the players are minors) of the risks associated with the sport. For instance, coaches of contact sports at the high school level are required to warn students of the risks of sustaining concussions.
Finally, athletes may also be able to recover damages if their injury was the result of a defect in their equipment. If, for instance, a skier’s binding was improperly designed and so came loose while she was skiing, the manufacturer of the binding could be held liable for the victim’s medical bills if the defect caused her to fall and break a bone while on the slopes.
Call an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one were injured while playing sports and believe that someone else’s negligent or reckless conduct was the cause, please contact Boone & Davis at 954-566-9919 to speak with a dedicated personal injury attorney about filing a claim. Our Fort Lauderdale legal team is eager to assist you today.