In some cases, a school or school system may be at fault for your child’s sports injury. This is most commonly true when the child’s injuries occur or are worsened by the actions of the school, a coach, or the program’s rules. If you believe this occurred in your child’s case, you may want to speak with a personal injury law firm to learn your rights.
Parents trust their child’s school, coaches, and others who oversee youth and teen sports programs to be well trained, concerned about the players’ health, and looking out for their best interests. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. With the risks inherent in athletics already, this can greatly increase the risk of injuries.
Negligence and School Sports Injuries
Negligence is one of the most common causes of accidents and injuries. It plays a role in almost every traffic accident, slip and fall, drowning, and other types of injury incidents. While some school sports injuries occur as a result of the game—a knee injury that occurs during a tackle in football, for example—others happen because of an issue with the playing surface, equipment, or other similar issues.
It is these issues that occur outside of what we would think of as “the game” that may be preventable and caused by negligence. These injuries can also occur in sports that are generally safer, such as golf or tennis.
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Examples of Negligence Causing Sports Injuries
While there are any number of ways that school staff or coach could act carelessly or even absentmindedly, and this led to a player’s injuries, some happen more often than others. You may have a case if your child’s injuries occurred for any of the following reasons:
Issues with the Field or Court
Problems with the playing surface are common. While those who maintain fields and courts should be monitoring any issues, this does not always happen. A hole in a soccer field, broken wood on a basketball court, or a broken sprinkler on a football field can all cause falls, knee or ankle injuries, or even fractures.
Problems with Equipment
Likewise, broken or dangerous equipment can cause players to suffer injuries. If there is an issue in the weight room, a problem with a basketball goal, or similar equipment hazards, a player could suffer many types of serious injuries.
Failing to Take Action in Inclement Weather
You have probably heard stories of athletes overheating and suffering heatstroke, becoming dehydrated, or even getting struck by lightning. It’s even happened to professional athletes. At the middle, high school, and collegiate level, coaches and others on staff have a responsibility to ensure the players remain safe from weather-related hazards. Failing to move players inside when it is too hot or storming could be negligence if an injury occurs.
Not Taking Proper Action After a Possible Injury
Coaches and sports staff also have a responsibility to react appropriately in the event that an injury does occur. This includes true accidents and injuries that occur within the game. Much has been made of concussion protocols lately, and this is a good example of how schools must ensure their staff is trained on what to do. A coach who ignores the protocols may be at fault if the player’s injury worsens.
Schools should also always have medics or well-equipped trainers available in the event of an injury, regardless of the severity. Not being able to provide care quickly could also be considered a negligent act.
If you believe any of these apply in your case, or if there is another situation that caused your child’s injuries and you have questions, a consultation with one of our attorneys is a good idea.
How Can a School Be Held Liable?
It may be possible to hold your child’s school liable for their sports injury by filing an insurance claim or lawsuit. However, this may be more difficult if they attend a public school. There are laws that limit an individual’s ability to sue the government or a government agency.
This is one reason why you should speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your child’s injuries. You may need to navigate a very specific process and follow certain rules to recover compensation to pay for your child’s medical bills and other losses.
These cases often have their own unique timeline, and the deadlines may come very quickly. In Louisiana, La. Civ. Code Art. 3492 generally gives victims up to one year to sue to recover compensation. This is one of the shortest statutes of limitations in the country. You may have only a fraction of this time if the liable party is a municipal, county, or parish school board.
Speak to a Lawyer from Morris Bart, LLC About Your Child’s Injuries
Our attorneys from the Morris Bart law firm may be able to help you understand your options after your child’s sports injury. We offer free case assessments for those hurt or living in the areas we serve, including Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. We will discuss your legal options with you, provide information about how we might approach your case, and explain how our contingency fee payments work.
Connect now with one of our personal injury lawyers near you.
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