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When Does Liability Attach for a Sports Injury?


Playing sports can be a fun way to get some exercise, as well as spend time with friends and family. However, sports can also come with an inherent risk of injury. While many injuries that happen when engaging in sports are purely accidental, some may occur due to another’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness. If someone else was responsible for causing your sports injury, they may be held liable — and you may be entitled to compensation by filing a personal injury action.

Children’s Sports Injuries

Children often participate in sports at school, camp, or as part of an extracurricular program. Whether they’re playing football, soccer, basketball, baseball, or another sport, injuries can sometimes arise. Often, children’s sports injuries are no one’s fault and happen accidentally. But if your child was injured due to faulty equipment, failure to supervise, or poor coaching, the responsible party may be held liable for negligence.

Parents entrust coaches and teachers to properly supervise their children and keep them safe from harm. The parents of a child who was injured due to inadequate supervision or a school’s failure to provide reasonable care may be entitled to sue on their behalf for the injuries they sustained as a result.       

Sports Injuries Arising from Faulty Equipment

Whether you play sports on a professional team or for recreation and exercise, having properly working equipment is critical to avoid accidents. There are many ways in which defective sports equipment can cause injuries — improperly designed shoulder pads, flawed masks, and defective helmets are just a few examples of faulty equipment that can contribute to serious sports injuries.   

When a sports injury arises from a defective product design or manufacturing flaw, a victim may be able to assert a claim against the manufacturer or another responsible party under the legal theory of products liability. In some cases, sports equipment must also come with a warning label that provides instruction concerning how the equipment should be used, and advise of any known risks. If the manufacturer fails to include a warning label when necessary, they may be held liable for failure to warn if any injuries occur due to misuse.   

Spectator Injuries at Stadiums

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to be struck by a flying puck at a hockey rink or a foul ball at a baseball game. The injuries resulting from these types of accidents can be severe, requiring lengthy hospital stays, reconstructive surgery, or physical therapy — tragically, they can even be fatal. If your injury arose while you were a spectator at a sporting event, the stadium or facility may be held liable for negligence.

Although spectators must expect a certain level of risk when they attend a sporting event, a sports arena or stadium has an obligation to take reasonable measures to minimize the risk of injury. For example, a baseball stadium must provide adequate netting in the areas where foul balls are likely to fly and hockey arenas must install plexiglass around the perimeter of the rink. In addition, other types of sports venues must also implement safety precautions, depending on the sport and the risk of harm to spectators.  

Importantly, there are also certain safety requirements that must be met by sports stadiums. Failure to exercise reasonable care and adhere to these standards can result in a venue being held accountable for injuries that occur as a result.           

Compensation for Sports Injuries

Sports injuries can be devastating and life-changing. Depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident, sports injuries may include brain damage, broken bones, nerve damage, paralysis, or fatality. In addition to requiring extensive medical treatment, sports injuries can also result in loss of time from work and significant financial hardship.  

If someone else’s negligence caused your sports injury, you may be entitled to recover economic and non-economic damages, including:

  • Reimbursement for medical expenses
  • Out-of-pocket costs in connection with medical treatment
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

While economic damages are meant to cover your financial losses, non-economic damages — also referred to as “pain and suffering” — provide monetary compensation for the mental anguish, physical pain, and loss of enjoyment of life you suffered due to your injuries.

Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney

If you have sustained sports injuries caused by another’s negligence, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim to recover your monetary losses, as well as compensation for your pain and suffering. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can evaluate your claim and advise you regarding your legal rights and remedies. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has been providing high-quality legal services and skillful representation to clients for more than 30 years — and securing favorable results in their cases.

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a free consultation.