Who is Liable for Your Child’s Sports Injury?
Who is Liable for Your Child’s Sports Injury?

Every year, more than 3.5 million children ages 14 and under are treated for sports injuries in the U.S. The sports with the highest injury rates are those involving contact and collision, like football and rugby. However, the most serious injuries usually result from individual sports like gymnastics.

For most minor injuries, your personal health insurance should cover the costs of the treatment needed. You will be responsible for the meeting your health insurance deductible and any co-pays required by your plan. But what if your child was seriously injured while playing a sport? The costs for medical care, prescriptions and physical therapy sessions can mount, and some treatments might not be covered by health insurance. Additionally, your child might be experiencing other issues related to the injury, such as emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and loss of ability to enjoy activities. Standard health insurance will not cover these types of damages, known as non-economic or general damages.

If your child was seriously injured while playing a sport, you might be able to recover damages if the injury was due to someone else’s negligence. Some common injuries related to sports include:

  • Heat stroke
  • Overuse injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Dislocations
  • Broken bones
  • Tendon/ligament tears

When Negligence Causes a Sports Injury

Sometimes these injuries are simply the result of an accident, for which no one was at fault. Accidents happen, and children are highly susceptible. However, in some cases, an injury could have been avoided if proper care had been taken by those in charge. If your child was injured due to negligence, unlawful activity, or intentional violence from other players, you may be able to file a lawsuit on behalf of your injured child.

The school district, sports organization or facility owner could be held liable if an injury resulted from:

  • Improper use or maintenance of safety equipment, such as helmets and other gear
  • Negligence on the part of coaches. This could be something like ignoring trauma by forcing a player back into a game after an injury, or failing to implement safety protocols during practices or games.
  • Inadequate supervision.
  • Improperly trained staff.
  • Dangerous facilities.
  • Lack of sufficient medical care.

If your child was injured due to an intentional act of aggression or violence from another player, then you might have a case against that individual player, and perhaps the team or school district the player belongs to.

What About the Assumption of Risk?

Allowing your child to participate in sports comes with an inherent risk of injury. For example, if your child plays baseball, there is an assumption of risk that your child might be hit by a fast-moving ball. In tackle football, there is an inherent risk of injury due to the nature of the contact sport. If injuries result from reasonable participation in the sport, then it is unlikely that anyone will be found liable for the injury.

However, if the act that caused the injury went beyond the scope of what is expected in the sport, you might have a personal injury claim. Football players are expected to be tackled, and ensuing injuries from a tackle are not likely to be grounds for a personal injury claim. However, if the violence exceeds what is expected—for instance, if the player punched your child, intentionally inflicting harm—the offending player could be held responsible for the resulting injuries.

What if You Signed a Waiver?

Oftentimes, parents are required to sign a release for their child to be able to participate in a sport. These waivers are designed to absolve the owner or organization of liability if your child is injured. If your child’s injuries were a result of an accident that occurred during normal play, then the release is most likely enforceable. However, a court can rule a release invalid if they found the injury was the result of willful conduct by the property owner or organization.

Sports injuries are complicated cases. This is especially true if you believe the liable party is a school district or other government entity. Government organizations have strict procedures for injury claims, and sometimes have different time limits for filing a claim. Thus, it is important to seek the help of a personal injury attorney if you are considering a claim against a school district for your child’s sports injury.

“Sports injuries are usually accidents for which there is an inherent risk. But in the case that your child’s injury was actually the result of negligence, you will need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.

Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, El Centro, and Yucca Valley, and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.

DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.

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