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While sports and recreational activities can be a helpful way to fit some exercise in your day or a great outlet for kids to learn and develop their physical and social skills as they grow up, just about any sport or activity also carries its risks. The physical nature of any sport and the use of equipment could cause an injury even when you don’t see it coming at all.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there were 7,804,940 sports and recreational injuries resulting in emergency room visits from 2013 to 2018. The risk of injury is clearly very prevalent in this field, and we are there to try and help you through the difficult aftermath when you were injured due to another’s negligence.

At Mike Agruss Law, our personal injury attorneys have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a sports or recreation injury, contact our office today for a free consultation.

Assumption of Risk Doctrine

The term “assumption of risk” may come up in a personal injury claim regarding a sports injury. This doctrine is a defense in a personal injury lawsuit which essentially states that the plaintiff voluntarily took on the risk associated with the sport in which they were involved at the time of the injury. If there was an injury from one player to the other in the midst of a soccer game, that player would not really be able to sue the other, otherwise, every collision in a game may be considered a lawsuit.

There are two types of assumption of risk. There is the “express” assumption of risk, which means that there was an explicit agreement between the two parties acknowledging that there would be an assumption of the risk involved with the sport. Then, there is the “implicit” assumption of risk, which is where the “agreement” that the plaintiff is assuming the risk is implied through their oral statements or conduct.

No matter whether the type of assumption was express or implicit, there are still exceptions to this doctrine which generally allow you to still pursue a case. We will discuss these exceptions in further detail below. The exclusions include:

  • If a player was negligent and caused an injury,
  • If a defendant’s conduct was willful and wanton which then led to the other player’s injury,
  • Or if the equipment is defective and leads to injury.

Common Causes of Sports and Recreation Injuries

Sports and recreation have many moving parts involved; there may be teammates, friends, coaches, equipment, balls or other objects hurtling through the air, and many more. Each sport comes with its own risk. Any of these sports could end in an injury such as bruising, fractured bones, sprains, strains, concussions, traumatic brain injury, neck or back injuries, spinal cord injuries, drowning, and even death in the most extreme cases.

The type of injury will, of course, depend on the type of sport being played. A traumatic brain injury is much more likely in a sport such as a football as opposed to golf, where fractures in the wrist may occur more. Despite the many possibilities, there are a few common causes which lead to these injuries, and they include the following:

  • Coach, player, or supervisor negligence – A coach or fellow player may be violating safety standards set out for the sport, or a supervisor (such as a spotter in gymnastics) may be negligent in carrying out their job of ensuring the players’ safety.
  • Broken or defective equipment – A ball, goal, or tool used in the sport, maybe defective in some way and lead to an injury.
  • Maintenance negligence – The environment and facilities in which sports or activities are played must be maintained so that they remain safe as people enter and exit the premises.

Who Is Liable?

Sports and recreation injuries are generally judged on the basis of negligence, which has four essential elements to be proven. Keep in mind that the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Illinois is two years. This means that you must file your injury claim within two years of the date of the accident in order for it to be accepted and considered valid.

Negligence involves proving its four elements. First, you must prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care. Then, you must prove that that duty of care was breached, which can be shown by the accident itself being caused by the liable party. Then, you must prove that their actions or inactions were the direct and actual cause of the accident that caused your injury. Lastly, you must be able to prove that you did suffer actual damages and injuries which can be proven through medical records and bills, witness testimony, and more. Generally, you should be able to provide evidence that it was in fact this accident that caused your damages.

If your accident was caused due to defective equipment, such as a defective golf club or baseball helmet, then you would have a product liability case. Product liability cases are based on the idea that any and all actors in the chain of distribution of a product can be deemed liable for a defective product released to the public. In this case, the manufacturer, distributor, and/or retailer of the product can be found liable for your damages.

If the accident was due to the negligence of a maintenance team or property owner that is responsible for the property or facility’s maintenance, then the responsible party could be liable for the damages in a premises liability case. Premises liability cases are based on the idea that if there was a hazardous condition (without marking or warning to guests) on the property that caused your injuries, the property owner can be found liable for the damages. If they are negligent in carrying out their maintenance responsibilities, there may be sufficient grounds to pursue a case.

If the coach or supervisor of the activity was negligent or careless which led to your injury, they could be liable for your damages. This may look like the coach allowing a game to go on in conditions that are beyond the risk that the players assumed – essentially, playing the sport or activity in very unsafe conditions. Or, it may look like a supervisor being inattentive during their job of ensuring the participants’ safety. Another possibility is that a player violated the safety rules of the activity or sport, which caused your injury. Then, the player would be liable for the damages. Liability may also fall on an individual who causes injury to a person intentionally in a contact sport. 

After the accident, you should seek medical attention immediately to take care of your injuries and prevent further damage to your body. Then, you should take photos of your injuries. Try to gather witness statements of those who were there to witness the accident occur. Then, contact our experienced attorneys for a free consultation that will give you a better idea of how we can help you in your specific experience. We will help you navigate this tough process and make sure that you are compensated for the damages that you have had to endure throughout this devastating event.

Damages That Can Be Recovered

A sports or recreation injury can change a person’s life. We hear particularly often about contact sports injuries, such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) from years of football injuries. Or we hear of life-altering spinal cord injuries after a tough tackle. Each sport carries its own type of frightening risks and injuries which all, sadly, come with a hefty expense attached in order to properly treat it. However, we are here to ease some of this expense for you. With a successful injury claim, we will ensure that you are compensated for the damages that you had to incur throughout this traumatic experience. Some damages that you can recover after a sports or recreation injury includes the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Lost wages
  • Future loss of earnings
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of reputation
  • Loss of consortium

If you or a loved one has been injured due to a sports or recreation injury, contact our office today for a free consultation.

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