Playing sports is a fun and simple way to get some exercise. But while scoring goals or tossing the pigskin is a pleasure, playing team or individual sports can also lead to injury. Indeed, athletes know they risk potential harm when they step out on the field or court or skate out on the ice, but there are situations in which sports injuries might lead to a valid personal injury claim. If you or someone you know has suffered a sports injury, here’s what you need to know.
Personal Injury Basics
Before we dive deeper into whether an athlete hurt while playing a sport has a valid personal injury claim, it’s important to understand what making such a claim requires.
To make a personal injury claim through insurance or the courts, you need to prove that the person or entity you’re making the claim against was negligent. This means that the accused has breached a legal duty they owed you and that this transgression led to the accident in which you sustained injuries. In addition, you must also be able to prove that you suffered damages because of the injury, such as lost wages, medical expenses or even pain and suffering.
It’s up to you, the plaintiff, to prove negligence. And if the claim makes it to trial (most claims are settled before this point), you must prove your case to a judge or jury by a preponderance of the evidence—which means that more likely than not, everything you allege is true.
Sports Injuries and the Law
The first hurdle you have to face when making a claim for an injury sustained while playing a sport is the assumption of risk doctrine. In short, this legal theory posits that a person who voluntarily participates in a sport is fully aware of the risk of injury, and therefore cannot hold others liable if they are hurt.
This doctrine, however, is not the be-all and end-all for people hurt while playing a sport. For example, a coach or team could be found negligent and held liable for your sports injury if they failed to follow safety standards or protocol. Similarly, someone could be found liable if the injury was sustained during contact that exceeded what’s reasonable for the game being played—such as a fight between opposing players during a game.
Additionally, you may have a valid claim if the equipment you used was defective in some way and caused an injury. This claim would be filed against the manufacturer or the person responsible for maintaining the equipment.
Contact Us for Help
Were you injured while playing a sport, or know someone who was? Do you think they may have a valid personal injury claim? This area of the law is complicated, so it is always a good idea to get an experienced lawyer on your side. Our knowledgeable team is ready to help you receive the compensation you deserve—reach out to us today.