When Can You Sue Over A Child's Sports Injury?

A lot of school-age children participate in summer sports through their schools or local athletic organizations -- and a lot of those children end up injured as a result. 

In fact, sports injuries account for one-third of all childhood injuries. While the most common injuries are limited to minor sprains and muscle strains, others suffer life-threatening accidents that involve things like spinal cord damage, heat stroke, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

If you're the parent of a child who was injured in a sports accident, here's what you should know about your rights:

Waivers And Assumption Of Risk May Affect Your Ability To Sue

Most community sports leagues and schools require parents to sign a waiver (often called a "consent form") on their child's behalf in order to participate in a sport. These waivers generally only cover the school or organization for injuries that occur due to ordinary negligence. 

In addition, you assume a certain amount of risk when you allow your child to participate in a sport -- although the inherent risks may vary based on the specific activity. For example:

  • Baseball players can often expect to be hit by foul balls or injured while sliding into bases.
  • Soccer players can generally expect to be hit by a ball or may end up with broken bones from field play.
  • Track team runners may experience nausea, vomiting, or strained ligaments due to over-exertion.

For the most part, you cannot sue for damages or hold the sports organization or school liable for your child's medical bills when an injury arises out of ordinary negligence or just the inherent risk of the sport itself.

That Does Not Mean That A School Or Sports League Is Immune From Lawsuits

Waivers and assumption of risk don't extend to injuries that are caused by gross negligence or other causes. There are numerous times when a parent can -- and should -- file a lawsuit over a child's injuries.

Gross negligence is generally defined as a conscious disregard for other people's safety. Some examples of possible gross negligence include things like:

  • Allowing a baseball player on the field, in the heat, despite the fact that he forgot his asthma medication -- which subsequently results in a fatal asthma attack
  • Putting a football player back on the field right after a concussion -- leading to a permanent traumatic brain injury
  • Encouraging a cheerleader to perform a dangerous backflip in a competition --which results in a spinal cord injury and paralysis

Schools and sports leagues can also be held liable for injuries caused by known issues that were left without a remedy. For example, if a coach knew that the football helmets his players were using were cracking during play and still let players wear them on the field, the school could be held liable for a child's traumatic brain injury.

If you're unsure of what to do after a child's serious sports injury, talk to an accident attorney today.

About Me

A Little Legal Know-how Helps Everyone in Life

When I was a child and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always told them I wanted to be a lawyer. I even followed an attorney one day during a school job shadowing experience. I really found the law interesting, and my favorite shows to watch were, and still are, court shows. However, when it came time to choose a major in college, I chose another career path that I now enjoy. However, I still love law and do some legal research on a regular basis just for fun. I decided that it would be a shame to let all of my legal knowledge "go to waste" by not sharing it with others, so I decided to start a blog to share my legal tips on along with some interesting legal cases and stories. I hope you come back often!

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