Can I Sue If I’m Injured During an Organized Sports Event?

sports injuries

As a hockey player and coach, I recognize that sports injuries are “part of the game.” But too often, people take that mantra too far and just let things ride when they are injured when playing a sport, exercising, or even out on a run. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there’s an average of 8.6 million sports and recreation-related injury episodes every year in America.

Just like a car accident, sports injuries can lead to medical expenses, lost wages, and hardship. Also just like a car accident, Patterson Legal Group can help you obtain compensation if you suffer a sports injury as a result of someone’s negligence. 

Assumption of Risk in Organized Sports 

When playing any organized sport, such as hockey or football, there is an assumption of risk. This means that we know playing sports can be inherently dangerous, but knowing those risks, we decide to play anyway.

For example, we take an inadvertent elbow going for a rebound and chip a tooth, knee ourselves in the face going off the diving board and break our own nose, or over-rotate doing a cheer stunt and land face-first. 

Generally speaking, when these types of accidents happen, there aren’t grounds for a lawsuit. However, if it feels like an injury was “unfair” or “unjust,” that’s usually because it is. 

Some Injuries Are More Than “Part of the Game”

Here are a few situations where you can still recover an injury settlement from an organized sports accident when things go too far—even if you signed a waiver.

Malicious Behavior 

Again, attending a sporting event can be inherently dangerous. However, when the sports injury occurs outside the scope of what can be expected, there are grounds for recovery. For example, if you are attacked by another fan in the stands at an event, or someone at your slow pitch league intentionally hits you with their bat, this is not a risk we assume. If a facility knew the fan could be dangerous or the fan had been warned beforehand, this creates an even stronger case.

Negligent Coaching 

As a former college coach, this one really hits home. Athletes are human. If your child suffers illness due to a coach not allowing a water break or is further injured because a coach throws him or her back in a game after an obvious concussion that occurred as “part of the game,” we are outside of those risks we assumed and are in negligence territory. These actions have dire consequences at times, and financial recovery is available for sports injuries caused by negligent coaches.

Equipment Malfunctions 

Though sports equipment gets worn out and needs to be checked regularly, there can be product defects that can cause sports injuries. Sometimes baseball players get hit by an errant pitch. That’s “part of the game.” However, if the cover slips off that ball the first time it is thrown, causing an errant throw to injure someone, this can be a product defect. 

Likewise, if a bicyclist helmet does not absorb a small impact the way it claims it will, this can also be a product defect as well. These cases can be tricky, and it takes an experienced attorney to handle them correctly.

Unkempt Facilities 

When running, bumping, and competing, sometimes we take a tumble. Going to the ground in almost any sport is “part of the game.” Those who provide us the places to play also have an obligation to ensure they are safe for us to play at. If you trip and fall in a big pothole on a running path and roll an ankle, get your skate caught against the board playing hockey and suffer an injury, or even as a spectator if the step gives out under you, you’ve been injured by something outside of your fault and outside of your assumed risk. If a facility is unsafe, they should be responsible for your injury costs, not you. 

What Should I Do After an Organized Sports-Related Accident? 

Like any other accident, be sure to take photos and get information on witnesses who saw what happened. With multiple attorneys on staff who have played sports at the biggest universities in Kansas, we know what constitutes “part of the game” and what constitutes negligence.

For a free, no obligation consultation with a Kansas personal injury lawyer, call Patterson Legal Group at 316-550-0000, connect with one of our LiveChat agents online, or fill out this brief form to be reviewed by our intake team. The call is free, the consultation is free, and we do not charge any fees unless we make a recovery on your behalf.

Injured outside of Kansas? We also offer legal assistance to those hurt in a Missouri, Nebraska, or Wyoming sports-related accident. 

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.