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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Suing for Injuries Sustained while Playing Sports -

Now that the weather is getting warmer in most parts of the country, "weekend superstars" are getting their sports on again. Like spring showers bringing summer flowers, the increase in physical activity is guaranteed to lead to an increase in injuries.  Whether it is due to a failure to keep in shape over the winter, lack of toning and preparation, or just the body getting one year older, sports medicine doctors and emergency room physicians can count on an increase in patient load once the birds begin to sing and the trees grow new leaves.

Any sports can be dangerous for participants. It does not matter what the sport is, there is always the chance of injury when engaging in physical activity. The chances of injury go up significantly when the sport being played is a contact sport, like football, but injuries are a part of every sport, including baseball, soccer, and basketball. Even golfers can suffer serious injuries.

Generally, a participant in a sport assumes the risk of normal injuries during play. If a concussion or spinal injury is suffered as a result of being tackled in a game of football, he or she will be responsible for his or her own medical bills. Similarly, a basketball player cannot sue for an injury sustained when landing awkwardly after a shot. However, if an injury is caused by a condition not within the scope of a participant’s consent, the loss from that injury can be recovered. A person who consents to play basketball, for example, can sue another participant for starting a physical fight because the person who started the fight was acting improperly. Similarly, a soccer player may be able to file a claim if the injury in question was caused by shoddy conditions on the field.

Individuals wishing to take part in organized leagues will often be asked to sign documents acknowledging their willful participation in the activity. These documents may include waivers of liability. It is important to read these documents carefully. If a waiver of liability is included, participants should make sure that the field of play is well-maintained before engaging in physical activity there. These waivers are not always enforceable. Each state has its own rules about how liability waivers are treated by the courts.

In pickup games with friends, even though there is no waiver of liability signed, there is still an understanding of consent to play the game. Any incidental contact as a result of the sport cannot give rise to a lawsuit. For this reason, it is important that players  go over the extent of acceptable contact before participating.  It is also, for the reasons noted above, important to examine the field of play for any potentially dangerous conditions.

Hopefully, you will not get hurt playing your favorite sport this season. But if you are injured or just want to learn whether you may be liable for someone else's injury, you should consult with an experienced attorney. The Law Office of Randall P. Brett is your resource for this information. Give us a call.


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