There are many ways to sustain a sports injury. There are also many ways in which a third party can be legally responsible (“liable”) for causing a victim’s injuries. If you or a loved one has sustained a sports injury, it is important that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to identify and protect your legal rights. Trust the decades of experience of the Dolman Law Group.
Theories of Liability
In order for a person to be legally obligated to compensate a sports injury, she must be found liable for causing it. There are many different theories of liability that may apply to any given case. Negligence is a legal doctrine that applies to anyone who does not use due care in a given situation. This theory allows injury victims to hold careless drivers accountable for causing car accidents. It can also hold careless doctors accountable for medical errors, and any other personal injury that is sustained as a result of a third party’s negligence. A sports injury can be caused by the carelessness of other players. If, for example, a player tripped over a baseball bat carelessly thrown in the dugout, this could be negligence on the part of the player who left the bat.
Premises liability is a specific form of negligence. It is rooted in the rule that all landowners have a duty to make their premises safe. The level of safety required depends upon the injured party’s status on the land. If he is a social guest of a private homeowner, the landowner must warn of any known dangers. If the injury victim was a shopper or patron on the owner’s land (a “business invitee”), the owner must inspect the premises and make them safe for customers. Trespassers on land are generally owed a very low duty of care, but landowners are still prohibited from inflicting harm upon them. When a sports injury is caused by an unsafe condition on the playing field or surrounding area, the property owner or management company may bear premises liability, and be obligated to compensate the victim for her losses. Premises liability can also hold a landowner liable for not maintaining an area properly (for example, by neglecting to move loose debris, leaving sections of parking lots poorly lit, not repairing uneven bleacher steps, or other unsafe conditions).
Liability for sports injuries is complicated by the legal doctrine of assumption of risk. This allows a defendant to avoid liability if the victim’s injuries were sustained in the normal course of an activity he knowingly engaged in. Sports players face certain risks that cannot be mitigated, even with the most extensive precautions. Tennis players are often struck by fast-moving balls. Football players know that other players will attempt to block them with strong physical contact because that is a part of the game. Golfers can be struck anywhere on the course even if another player called “fore”.
Often, an assumption of risk is disputed by the parties to a sports injury case, and it must be resolved by a judge or jury. The judge or jury must then determine whether the risk was one that a sports participant could reasonably expect to be subjected to in the normal course of play. A basketball player, for example, could reasonably expect to be struck by a ball during play. But having another player throw a ball at him in the parking lot after the game is beyond the normal course of play. Such an injury would not be foreseeable, and the player would therefore not be found to have assumed that risk as part of her participation in the sporting event.
Recreational Water Sports
South Florida is home to excellent marinas, open boating waters, jet ski facilities, and many other options for those interested in recreational water sports. These, too, can cause sporting injuries. A boating injury victim’s ability to recover compensation for his losses still depends on the ability to find a theory of liability. The boat owner may have maintained her safety equipment in unsafe condition. A commercial scuba diving company may have improperly trained participants before taking them into the open waters. A boat driver may have been operating the boat in an unsafe condition. All of these scenarios allow a boating injury victim to recover damages from the negligent party. Have fun on the water, but stay safe to avoid injuries:
- Ensure that you have all proper safety equipment for your activity. Lifejackets or personal flotation devices should be worn on boats, and inflatable toys are not a substitute for these lifesaving devices. Children should be outfitted with life vests, helmets, or other safety equipment properly fitted to their size.
- Stay aware of your surroundings. Collisions with other boats, sharks in the water, drowning, injuries from equipment, and other accidents can all be prevented by identifying and addressing the danger before it occurs. Awareness will even help you avoid medical conditions such as sunburn, heat rash, and heat stroke.
- Maintain constant supervision of children. Children can drown in as little as one inch of water, and it only takes seconds to happen. Make sure you know where children are and what they are doing at all times.
- Stay current on CPR and first aid techniques. Early intervention offers the best odds of survival and recovery from an accident.
- Make sure all recreational and safety equipment is in good working order before you must rely on it in the open water. This is especially important at the start of the season when equipment has been in storage and out of use for long periods of time.
- Never swim alone or in bad weather, especially in the Atlantic Ocean. Weather and currents change rapidly and being on your own out in open waters can be dangerous.
Committed Representation by a New Port Richey Sports Injury Attorney
After any sports injury, victims should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in order to protect their legal rights. The Dolman Law Group has extensive experience standing up for the rights of injury victims in and around the New Port Richey area. Call (727) 451-6900 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with a personal injury attorney today.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652