Who is Liable for a Sports-Related Injury?
In prior blogs we discussed the basic negligence proposition, which states: when someone fails to act reasonably, resulting in injury to another, the wrong-doer is responsible for the harm caused. So, if someone disregards a stop sign and causes an accident, or a shop owner fails to shovel the sidewalk after a snowstorm and someone falls outside of their store, they are responsible for all injuries incurred.
But, what happens when someone is injured while voluntarily participating in sports? Do the same principles apply, or is that person barred from recovery because he/she assumes the risks involved?
Each year, millions of students, as well as recreational and professional athletes, suffer sports-related injuries. Some of these injuries can be serious, resulting in fractures, paralysis and even death.
The National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that about 3.5 million children get hurt each year in the United States playing sports or participating in recreational activities. Of those 3.5 million, about 775,000 are treated in hospital emergency rooms. An astonishing 8,000 children are treated in emergency rooms each day for sports-related injuries, and these injuries occur both during practices and games.
Most sports have a potential for injury which can be caused by a number of sources, including the participants, the equipment, and the arena/surface. Obviously, some contact sports such as ice-hockey and football are more dangerous than non-contact sports such as swimming.
Stark & Stark represents clients who have been injured in sports-related injuries. We understand the legal obligations for all parties involved in these sporting activities and we understand the limitations on liability the current law imposes. If you have questions, feel free to contact me to set up a free initial consultation here in my firm's Lawrenceville, New Jersey office.