August 17, 2018

So you were playing an organized recreational sport and you were injured. Now you’re wondering if there are any legal avenues you can take to be compensated for your injury and resulting damages. Let’s start with the cause of your injury, was it caused by someone’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional conduct? If so, you may have some recovery options.

Negligence and sports injuries

In a simplified explanation, negligence occurs when a duty of care is owed, a breach of the duty of care occurs, and an injury results because of that breach. Looking at negligence in a sports injury scenario, if you’re playing recreational hockey and a puck hit by another player knocks out several of your teeth, yes there was an injury caused by someone’s action, but did he or she breach the duty of care owed to you?

The answer to that depends on the circumstances. If the player exercised ordinary care in hitting the puck in an attempt to pass the puck or score a goal, he’s likely not going to be seen as being negligent. In different scenarios, if you were sitting in the players box before the game started and another player carelessly hit the puck and knocked out your teeth, your injury may have been caused by negligence. If neither you nor the other players were on the lookout for flying pucks because the game hadn’t started, you have an argument that your injury was caused by his negligence.

Recklessness or intentional conduct

Recklessness or intentional conduct could also be the cause of a sports injury. Take the classic baseball example: In an effort to exact revenge against Team A’s pitcher for accidentally hitting one of Team B’s batters with a pitch, Team B’s pitcher decides to intentionally throw the ball at Team A’s pitcher when he is up to bat. As a result, Team A’s pitcher’s nose is broken when the ball hits him in the face. Team B’s pitcher’s intentional conduct caused Team A’s pitcher’s injury. Similarly, if a player is behaving recklessly, not exercising the same conduct and precautions that are ordinarily exercised by other players and an injury results, that injury is caused by reckless sports behavior.

Assumption of the risk and waiver

Don’t assume that because you signed a waiver or because you assumed the risk that you have no path of recourse. Assumption of the risk essentially means that you assumed the risk of injury when you decided to play the sport. In some cases players this would be true, but in some situations, the assumption of the risk would not apply. For example, you don’t assume the risk of a broken nose resulting from an angry pitcher throwing the ball at you.

And then there’s the waiver issue. It’s possible that some of the language in the waiver you signed is not enforceable, or maybe the waiver did not cover the activity that caused your injury. Regardless of what the waiver said, in CaliforniaThe assumption, there are specific terms that are unenforceable, including waivers for gross negligence and intentional wrongful acts.

Contact our Los Angeles sports injury lawyer, at JML Law, who can take a look at your potential recovery options. JML Law Firm’s experts can review the circumstances of your injury and any waivers you may have signed to determine if you can be compensated for your sports injury.