Injuries are certainly a part of sports. As a parent, you know that there’s a risk that your child will be hurt when they join the school sports team. Perhaps you’ve played sports like football, basketball or hockey yourself, so you know the risks of injuries like sprained ankles or broken forearms.
But if your child gets hurt, is it possible to sue the coach, the school or the sports program? Can you and your child start a lawsuit to recover the medical bills that you’re now facing?
It generally only works when there was negligence
Every case is certainly unique, but the vast majority of sports injuries do not lead to lawsuits and do not have the proper grounds. In fact, many students are told to sign waivers before playing sports, acknowledging that they could be injured. This is especially true for rough sports, like football, where physical contact is simply unavoidable. It’s an inherent part of the game itself.
However, there are cases when you may be able to claim that negligence either caused the injury or made it worse. An example could be if your child didn’t have the right protective equipment, such as a football helmet that fits properly. If your child complained about this ill-fitting equipment and the school’s sports program neglected to fix it, then you may be able to sue them for this negligence and their role in the injury. But if they provided your child with all of the proper equipment, and they still got hurt playing the game, the coach may say that some injuries are just bound to happen.
A professional example
Interestingly, there’s an example of this playing out right now in the National Football League. Denver Broncos linebacker Aaron Patrick was playing special teams when he ran out of bounds. He tried not to run into a worker who was standing on the sideline, tripped over a mat, and tore up his knee. He’s out for the year and, considering that he was a special teams player to begin with, it’s unclear exactly what impact this injury will have on his career. Many players with serious knee injuries are never the same. He is suing the NFL and the teams involved for negligence due to the personnel, equipment and especially the mats used on the sidelines.
What are your options?
Your situation may not be as high-profile as this one, but it’s still important for your family. It can also be very complicated, so make sure you know what legal options you have, especially when you and your family are facing high medical bills.