Although there has been a concerted effort over the past few years to implement safe practices and require specific types of safety equipment, people who participate in sports still sustain injuries in accidents that result in impacts on the victim’s life.
There are many reasons why sport-related accidents happen, including unsafe conditions and defective equipment, however, negligence also plays a significant role in many of these devastating injuries.
Some of the types of negligence that a personal injury attorney sees in the sport-related accident cases he or she handles include:
- Failure to hire staff who have been properly trained and experienced
- Failure to prohibit, limit, or stop violent or risky activity during the sport
- Failure to properly supervise participants
- Failure to properly train those participating
- Failure to provide equipment that fits properly
- Failure to provide the correct equipment
- Having opponents -whether individual sports like boxing or team sports like football – who are of unequal size, experience, training, etc.
- Failure to warn participants (or parents if the participants are minors) or risks associated with the sport
There are important caveats when it comes to determining whether or not the victim understood what the risks were in participating in the sport he or she sustained injuries in. In personal injury law, this is often referred to as “inherent risks.” The defendant (also known as the at-fault party) in a personal injury lawsuit will often use an inherent risk defense against liability, meaning that because the victim knew of the risks that were involved if they participated in the sport, the defendant is not responsible for the injury.
A personal injury lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT will examine whether or not there are certain elements present that would lead a jury to conclude the victim knew the risk during deliberations of a personal injury lawsuit:
- The assumption that when a person volunteers to participate in an activity know to have risks, then the person is aware of the risk they are subjecting themselves to.
- When a person wears protective gear to participate in an activity, this is evidence that they are aware of the risk they are putting themselves in.
Even if the victim was well aware of the risk of potential injury if they participated in the sport, courts have found that this does not absolve others from liability when there is negligence or recklessness on the part of the party or parties who have deemed to be at fault for the victim’s injuries.
For example, most people know that when they play baseball, there is a risk that they could be hit and injured with the hard ball used to play the game and this is why players wear hard helmets for protection when they are up at bat. However, if the pitcher intentionally throws the ball at the batter and the batter suffers an injury, the known risk of playing the game would not apply and the pitcher could be held liable for the injury the batter suffered.
Thanks to Rasmussen & Miner for their insight into personal injury claims and sports related injuries.