Parents want their children to be active. Participating in sports is important for physical and mental development in children and some schools require students to participate in physical education (PE) classes. In addition to mandatory PE classes, some students voluntarily participate in team sports. The worry for parents is the safety of their children while participating in school sports. Injuries are inherent in sports: scrapes and bruises are par for the course. However, when your child is injured as a result of negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical expenses and other damages suffered.
Assumption of Risk
Assumption of risk is a legal doctrine that bars an injured person from getting compensation for an injury sustained while voluntarily participating in certain activities. Assumption of risk may be express or implied.
Express assumption of risk is typically achieved through a signed waiver. The waiver of liability forms that you must sign before your child participates in certain sports activities will usually contain express terms that provide that you assume the risk that your child may be injured while participating in the sport, and you promise not to hold the team, management, or facility responsible.
Implied assumption of risk requires two things: (1) voluntary exposure to or participation in a dangerous situation or activity, and (2) actual knowledge of the risk assumed by participating in the activity.
Assumption of Risk in School Sports
As already mentioned, children participate in school sports in two ways: PE classes and team sports. Because participation in PE class is often compulsory, under those circumstances there would be no implied assumption of risk. However, for team sports, because participation is voluntary, there may be implied assumption of risk.
Determining Liability for a School Sports Injury
If your child has suffered a school sports injury determining who, if anyone, is liable for the injury can be complex. Who can be liable will depend on the circumstances of the case. Generally, the following parties may be liable for a school sports injury:
The school: schools have a duty to provide a safe environment for their students during PE classes and while participating in team sports. Schools are responsible for providing proper equipment, hiring trained personnel, maintaining gyms and sports fields in good repair, and providing adequate supervision of students. If your child is in a public school,
The coach: coaches have a duty to ensure the safety of their players. This includes proper training, using safe techniques, and enforcing safety rules. When a coach breaches their duty and the breach results in an injury, the coach may be liable.
Teammates: even when participating in risky or contact sports like football, teammates are not allowed to act recklessly or negligently. A teammate who intentionally causes another player’s injury may be liable for the resulting damages.
Equipment manufacturer: equipment manufacturers may be liable if a defective sports equipment caused the student’s injury.
Other third parties: other third parties including sports facility owners and referees may also be liable for a school sports injury caused by their negligence.
What legal steps you take to hold the responsible parties liable will depend on the circumstances of your case. An experienced personal injury lawyer can advise you on your legal rights and options.
If your child has suffered a school sports injury, it is important to consult with an experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney to determine who may be liable for your child’s injury. The personal injury lawyers at Koch & Brim, LLP can help you. Call us today at (702) 410-6034 to schedule a free consultation.