Very few venues in our society can top the sports arena as sites of accidents resulting often in serious injuries.
The subject of the injury may be either a participant in the sport, or an observer of a sporting event : The race car driver, the wide receiver, the baseball player sliding into third base, going for the lay up; or being hit by a foul ball in the bleachers, injured by an out of control race car, slammed by a wild hockey puck into the stands. More disturbing, the little leaguer injured in any of a wide variety of sports engaged in by youngsters, and supervised by well meaning volunteer adults. Add to this the myriad sports engaged in by school teams at all levels of age and proficiency, and what emerges is a plethora of sources for voluminous potential litigation. Just imagine, a lawsuit for every injury incurred in the sporting arena !
Enter the doctrine of “Assumption of Risk”!
What this doctrine essentially means is that a person may not recover for any injury which that person sustains, when that person voluntarily exposes him or herself to a known dangerous activity, event or possible consequence of such activity or event. Being tackled, flying pucks, speeding baseballs, outfield collisions, race car crashes–all known and anticipated possibilities to anyone participating in, or watching the event.. Injured by one of these or literally scores of other “every day” sporting mishaps, and you want to sue–“fuggedaboudit”!! “Assumption of Risk” – you knew, or darn well should have known, about the risks before you started. The courts will not be sympathetic.
Of course, the doctrine of “Assumption of Risk” does not, by any means, eliminate each and every injury incurred during the course of a sporting event from being litigated. Especially in the case of younger athletes and school age children, the courts will look to factors that may well overshadow the “Assumption of Risk” doctrine.
The child injured when sliding into third base? Was the coaching “negligent”? Was the child properly taught how to slide, minimizing potential injury to him/herself or the opposing team’s player? Did all the equipment used meet the required safety standards? Was the base movable and detachable? And of course, these issues can, and are, raised by experienced attorneys, in every situation where a child in particular, but adults as well, are seriously injured in a sports accident. While the doctrine of “Assumption of Risk” looms very large indeed, in the field of sports injuries, a close examination of legitimate additional reasons for the injury having occurred should be pursued in all such potential cases. If you feel that this includes you please contact one of our experienced New York City Personal Injury Attorneys to assess your situation.