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Determining Liability for Sports Injuries

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Being involved in sports has a lot of benefits. It can improve your fitness, teach you the value of discipline and teamwork, give you a chance to socialize with other people, and more. While regularly partaking in sports is fun and beneficial to your health and well-being, these activities entail various risks regarding serious physical injuries. Knowing the risks involved in participating in sports, one must know who can be held liable for injuries sustained from various sporting activities.

Understanding the Assumption of Risk in Sports

One must first understand what the concept of ‘assumption of risk’ in the world of sports is all about. The Assumption of Risk states that anyone who voluntarily participates in any sporting activity cannot hold others liable for injuries sustained from accidental circumstances during a game. Most sports are inherently physical in nature, which means that blame cannot be placed on co-participants for the most part because all of the participants, including the person who has sustained an injury, should understand the risks involved in playing. If this doctrine didn’t exist, all athletes and sports participants could hypothetically sue each other all the time whenever a person gets injured.

However, this doctrine does not mean that injuries are commonplace and are widely accepted in sports. The assumption of risk only applies to those that can realistically be expected to arise when playing that sport. Injuries that are a result of abnormal sets or circumstances are excluded from this theory.

What the Assumption of Risk Does Not Cover

There are three main instances that are excluded from the ‘assumption of risk’ theory which you should be aware of if you are an athlete or regularly participate in sports activities. Knowing this will help you determine whether hiring a personal injury attorney is a reasonable course of action or not if you sustain an injury from a questionable sequence while playing.

Injury Caused by “Unreasonable” Behavior

Every sport has a set of rules that all players must follow and are enforced by referees. When an athlete steps out of bounds and deliberately causes another athlete’s injury, this may be enough reason for someone to file a case against that player. An example of this would be a basketball game wherein a player engages in a fistfight regardless of reason with another player. These fistfights and other similar incidents can cause minor bruising or brain injury and are highly dangerous, especially during a sporting activity. This may be enough reason for someone to file a case against that other player.

Injury Caused by Equipment Failure

When engaging in any athletic activity, the committee organizing the event must take all the necessary steps to ensure that the athletes are competing in a safe facility. Sports injuries caused by an unsafe court or field can be sufficient reason for you to file a case. An example scenario is when a basketball player dunks on the rim and snaps it in the process, causing the player to fall flat on his back and suffering a severe injury because of the faulty basketball ring. The facility or organizers hosting the event can be held liable for these kinds of mishaps.

Additionally, the manufacturers of faulty equipment that caused a person’s injury can be at fault and sued for damages. For example, if a golf club’s head detaches in the middle of a swing and hits another person in the head, you can file charges against the manufacturer.

Injury Caused by Negligence

Other than leading and teaching a team how to play, supervision is one of the most crucial duties of coaches in sports at any level. Aside from fostering an athlete’s growth, coaches are also tasked with the responsibility of making sure the athletes are safe. Sports is all about pushing the human body to the limit, and so a coach is there to ensure they work within their individual abilities or aren’t exposed to anything that would put them in severe danger. Likewise, a coach is expected to thoroughly explain the procedures necessary to create a safe playing environment for all the athletes involved. If a person gets injured while participating in a sport because of the negligence of a coach or supervisor, he or she can hold them liable and sue them for damages for his or her injuries.

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney in Los Angeles

Injuries are an unfortunate reality in the world of sports as it means more than a straightforward recuperation. If you sustain a major injury, you will be faced with expensive rehabilitation and medical bills, not to mention being unable to function to your full capacity. Sports injuries for both casual and professional athletes can mean the loss of wages. Additionally, once you have fully recovered from your injury, you can’t go back to playing immediately, as some types of injuries need physical therapy and proper rehabilitation. Being injured can cause significant amounts of pain, suffering, and emotional distress. However, sustaining them because of someone’s negligence or malice is even more infuriating.

If you get involved in a sports-related injury and believe that someone has injured you beyond the assumption of risk, whether it is by negligence or malicious intent, consult with any of Mesriani Law Group’s seasoned personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles for legal advice and assistance. We offer a No Win, No Fee policy, which means you don’t need to pay upfront until your claims have been settled. Contact our office now and get a free consultation regarding your case.

About the Author
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Rodney Mesriani

Rodney Mesriani is the principal partner of the Los Angeles and Santa Monica based Mesriani Law Group. He specializes in personal injury and employment law while also being an accomplished litigator and trial attorney. Rodney is an aggressive negotiator and a well-known and respected attorney in the areas of practice he specializes in.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from California State University Northridge before attending Southwestern School of Law where he received his Juris Doctorate. While being an accomplished personal injury and employment lawyer, Rodney Mesriani has made it a point to attend numerous State Sponsored MCLE events and seminars over the years as a law practitioner to be informed of the latest laws and litigation strategies.



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