What Is a Sports Injuries Lawyer?
Sports are a lot of fun and a great way to get exercise. However, they can also be dangerous. Even non-contact sports have risks associated with them such as torn muscles and broken bones. Learn more about sports injuries lawyers and when you may need one.
Sports injury laws deal with determining if and how much compensation a player deserves if he or she is injured while playing a sport. This is different from normal personal injury law because of the inherent and known risks of playing sports. Nonetheless, there are many cases when an injured person will be entitled to compensation to cover medical bills or other damages.
Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that there are around 8.6 million sports- and recreation-related injuries per year in the U.S. Although not all of these cases call for a sports injuries lawyer, it is important to understand your rights and when you are entitled to compensation. If you need advice on a specific situation, contact us at RequestLegalHelp.com to find a lawyer.
Situations That Call for a Sports Injuries Lawyer
When you or a family member participates in a sport, whether at school or for a recreational league, the player (and parent or guardian for underage players) must sign a consent form or waiver in most cases. This states that there are inherent risks involved in playing a sport. Therefore, the organizing body may not be liable for injuries sustained during normal play.
However, there are many situations in which an organizer may be liable. For the most part, these are injuries due to negligence or a dangerous situation that is outside of the normal rules of the game. There are three major exceptions to the assumption of risk: negligence, wanton or willful conduct and defective equipment. The following are a few concrete examples of these exceptions.
Encouraging Excessive Force or Violence
If players are encouraged or decide to use force that is disallowed by the rules of play, the organization and/or responsible individual can be liable. This can include telling players to use illegal tackles in contact sports or to use excessive physical contact in non-contact sports.
This can also include any injuries sustained due to forceful behavior or violence outside of regulation play.
Creating an Unsafe Environment
Coaches or organizers may be liable if they created an unsafe environment. This can include a coach making players play or practice in an unsafe manner. For example, a coach may be liable for holding practices in excessive heat without proper precautions to protect against heat exhaustion and similar issues.
Failing To Remove an Injured Player
You may need a sports injuries lawyer if a coach fails to remove an injured player after being notified that the player has been injured. This can include simply failing to substitute a player who has sustained an injury or coercing the player to continue playing. This represents an unnecessary risk that is not a normal part of the game.
Directly Harming a Player
Naturally, wanton and direct harm that is outside of the rules of play and can be treated like it would be in a non-sports-related environment. For example, a coach striking a player as a form of punishment or expressing frustration is not protected by the assumption of risk.
Similarly, a player directly harming another player may be liable in some circumstances. This includes harm outside of regulation time or disallowed by the rules of the game.
Failing To Get Appropriate Medical Care When Needed
Sometimes injuries require medical attention. This can include broken bones, significant sprains and other issues. If the organization fails to get proper medical care for a player following an injury, it may be liable. This situation requires proof that the defendant breaches his or her duty of care. It can also vary depending on whether the injured party is a minor and whether the player was able to personally seek medical attention.
Damages You Can Seek
Sports injury law primarily deals with civil cases. In other words, you could seek monetary damages from the defendant. In some cases, crimes such as assault and battery can also be a factor. These are examples of the types of damages that may require compensation:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Travel expenses
- Lost earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
The Process of Working With a Sports Injuries Lawyer
The process of working with a sports injuries lawyer is simpler than you may think. If you or your child is injured playing sports, you can expect the process to go as follows:
- Consultation: During the first step, you discuss the situation with a lawyer. He or she can advise you on whether a successful case is likely.
- Investigation: Your lawyer will take time to look into the facts. This may involve meeting with you and gathering records.
- Complaint: If there appears to be a case, your lawyer will file a complaint in the relevant jurisdiction.
- Discovery: During this stage, the facts about the case and learned and shared. Despite how TV portrays the law, there will not be surprise pieces of evidence presented in the courtroom.
- Possible Settlement: Often, defendants want to settle cases before they get too far along. This involves negotiating a settlement between the two parties.
- Trial: A trial itself involves multiple steps. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on what to expect should your case reach this stage.
Work With an Experienced Sports Injuries Lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured while playing a sport and you believe that someone is liable for damages, you need the help of an experienced sports injuries lawyer. The right representation could help you to earn compensation for the impact of the injury. Contact a lawyer today.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!