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Sports and athletics exist in many different forms and accommodate all types of people, ranging from young children participating in a team activity for the first time to competitive high school athletes vying for national recognition. Physical contact is an expected and often essential part of many sports. Not surprisingly, serious injuries can occur at all levels of competition. Roughly 3.5 million children under the age of 14 are injured each year in the US while participating in some form of athletic activity, and 775,000 of these injuries require treatment in an emergency room. Concussions are continually a concern among all age groups, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports an estimated rate of 300,000 concussions occur on a yearly basis during sports activities. Sports that report the highest rate of injuries include football, soccer, basketball, swimming and diving, baseball, gymnastics and cheerleading.
If you or your child has been injured while participating in a sports activity, it may not appear obvious that the event was without fault or liability. Please contact a Boston personal injury lawyer at our Boston, Cambridge, or Quincy office today at 617-225-2100 for a FREE evaluation of your case.Who Is Liable For A Sports Injury?
Many sports injuries are accidental and occur as an inherent risk in participation. However, some injuries are the result of a negligent act on the part of a player, coach, supervisor, or equipment provider. A simple violation of a rule by a participant (for example, committing a foul) does NOT create liability or negligence. For a player to be liable, his or her actions must go well beyond what is considered normal activity for the sport, and demonstrate intent to injure or complete indifference towards the safety of the victim. Sometimes, a failure on the part of coaches, supervisors, or referees to properly oversee and instruct athletic participants can lead to injury. Supervisors and organizations are responsible for providing safe facilities and proper equipment. Dangerous conditions on a field or court can lead to twisted ankles and broken bones. The safety equipment provided by the organization must be effective and void of any defects. In fact, liability can often fall on manufacturers, in the form of a product liability lawsuit, if safety equipment is found to be faulty or unreliable. Other sources of negligence can include inadequate medical care and irresponsible training methods.Will A Liability Waiver Invalidate A Claim?
To take part in most organized sports, the participants or their parents are required to sign a liability waiver excusing the organization and its coaches from legal responsibility in the event of an injury. It is often the case that if the injury is the direct result of the organization's negligence (see examples in the previous paragraph), a liability waiver will NOT automatically invalidate a claim. Coaches, organizations, and supervisors still have a legal duty to provide safe equipment and facilities to sports participants. In other cases, the waiver could use language that is too vague; simply waiving "any and all liability" can be considered insufficient. There are other legal arguments that can be made against liability waivers, and it is important to note that signing a waiver is not necessarily fatal to your compensation claim.
The Boston personal injury attorneys at Bellotti Law Group, P.C., will carefully examine the injury and its surrounding circumstances to determine the best course of action to help you recover. We have decades of experience representing clients who have suffered injuries due to negligence or defective products. Please contact us today for a free consultation at 617-225-2100.