School Sports Injuries: Can You Take Legal Action?
From the early days of childhood, all the way through the end of high school, many Texas children and young adults participate in organized sports. School sponsored sports are have many benefits, including: exercise, learning, making friends and just having fun. Unfortunately, with physical activity some injuries are also inevitable. Many parents want to know when, and if, they can take legal action. This is a complex area of law, however, whenever negligent actions lead to your child suffering an injury, you can take action. If your injury occurred in San Antonio, Texas, you should contact an experienced San Antonio, TX personal injury lawyer for an in depth review of your individual case.
Understanding the Assumption of Risk
Before considering legal action following a school sports injury, you need to understand a legal concept known as the assumption of risk doctrine. This is a key part of any school sports injury claim. Assumption of risk is a legal defense that can be used in any personal injury case. Essentially, the defendant will argue that they are not liable for the injuries because the injured party understood, and acknowledged, the inherent riskiness of an activity prior to participation. Assumption of risk comes in two basic forms:
- Express: This occurs when a party explicitly acknowledges the potentials risks of an activity. Most often by signing a waiver or a release form. Most school sports currently require signing that all participants sign these forms.
- Implied: This does not necessarily require that anything be signed, but simply that the risk was reasonably foreseeable for all participating parties. For example, if you are playing football, it is likely reasonably foreseeable that you could get tackled and injure your leg.
So, does the assumption of risk doctrine mean that you are prevented from bringing personal injury for school sports injuries? Definitely not. The assumption of risk only prevents a party from making claim for a ‘reasonably foreseeable’ injury. The school, the coaches and other athletic organizers are responsible for taking proper care of your children. If a risk was not reasonably foreseeable, then even if a waiver was signed, you can likely still take legal action.
When You Should Take Legal Action
You should take action whenever your child’s injury was caused by the negligence of another party. Did your child sprain their ankle while trying to make a layup in a basketball game? If so, it is unlikely that any other party was negligent, as that is a reasonably foreseeable injury. However, if your child sprained his or her ankle because the basketball court has a large crack in the floor, then that is a different story entirely. The school has an obligation to provide a safe playing surface. Your attorney will need to review what exactly the organization did, or failed to do, and assess how that is connected to your child’s injury. Common examples of negligence in school sports injury cases include:
- Inadequate supervision;
- Unsafe equipment;
- Poor training of coaches or other employees;
- Poorly maintained facilities; and
- The lack of trained emergency medical personnel on site.
Need Legal Help?
If your child suffered an injury, an experienced personal injury attorneys can help you determine what to do next. Please do not hesitate to contact a local attorney today.