Can I Sue For Getting Hurt While Playing a Sport?
Many of us are not pro athletes. In fact…most of us aren’t. That means the sports we play come in between jobs, family, household chores, and a number of other responsibilities.
That being the case, we can hardly be shocked when injuries occur during non-routine activity. The body needs time to acclimate itself to new stresses, and sometimes we aren’t able to properly prepare ourselves. Furthermore, many sports come with an inherent and accepted risk that bodily harm could potentially occur.
Despite that, there are times when extenuating circumstances could have been avoided, or a fellow player took exceptionally aggressive actions against a person. In some of these instances where injury occurs legal rights to sue may be possible.
This article will explore the times when suing may or may not be a valid response to sport injury.
Common Instances When Suing is Not An Option
It’s no shock to hear that most sport injuries occur in aggressive sports. Games like football, rugby, and Mixed Martial Arts come with a very obvious and accepted risk. When injury occurs in these sports, it is often confined within the rules of the game.
For example, if a neck sprain occurs during a tackle in football, there will be very little chance to sue the tackler for his actions. Even if the hit is seen as ‘cheap’ or against the rules, often nothing more can be done than an in-game penalty.
Another example is a broken limb or nose during martial arts training. Often these schools will have parents or practitioners sign a liability waiver which serves as an acceptance of potential injury. Like in the football example, the offending party may have gone beyond the scope of safety, but it is frequently difficult to prove that the action was malicious or excessive beyond the confines of the sport.
Accidents are rarely cause for legal recourse. A golf ball to the chin, a baseball being fouled off into the crowd, etc are generally not considered viable lawsuits.
Instances When Suing May be an Option
So if most sport injuries are not fit for legal action, what could be pursued?
The major determining factor for this is if the offending party went outside the bounds of the sport in order to injure the victim. For example, if a football player were to grab a chair from the sidelines and begin to beat an opponent with it, that would certainly be cause for recourse.
Anything that occurs off the field of play is also open for consideration. If a wrestler attacks a fellow wrestler outside the confines of a match, it could be considered assault. The same goes for martial arts. If a boxer loads his gloves with sharp or solid objects to hit his opponents with, that is outside the confines of the sport and could be pursued legally.
Determining Your Case
If you are trying to decide if an incident is right for legal action, first ask yourself if it was aggressive but still within the boundaries of the game, or if it was exceptionally endangering to the person involved. Second, get in contact with an attorney or network that will hear your case for free to help you determine the nature of the case.
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