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Sports Injuries and Personal Injury Claims


Playing a sport, even a non-contact sport, is inherently risky. Athletes frequently roll their ankles, trip and fall, pull their muscles, and injure themselves in a variety of different manners. Many sports injuries are relatively minor but sometimes a sports injury can be serious, debilitating, or even deadly. When a serious injury occurs the injured athlete is frequently left with steep medical bills that they can’t afford and often lose out on income if they need to stay home from work while recuperating. If such an injury is caused by someone else’s negligent or wrongful act the injured athlete may be entitled to recover compensation for their losses by filing a personal injury claim against the liable party. However, it is important to note that not all sports injuries can serve as the basis for a personal injury claim. For example, the injured player will likely be unable to recover compensation if he/she assumed the risk of sustaining such an injury when he/she agreed to participate in the sporting event in which they were injured.

The Assumption of Risk Doctrine 

When an athlete freely agrees to participate in a sporting event he/she legally assumes some level of risk of injury because playing sports is inherently risky. In other words, when a player suffers a sports injury that is closely related to the risks inherent in the sport that they were playing then the party responsible for causing the injury can generally not be held liable. For example, if a basketball player gets hit in the face and breaks his/her nose while fighting for a rebound the player who accidentally hit him/her will likely not be held liable for any resulting injuries because getting accidentally hit in the face and breaking your nose is an inherent risk that players take when they agree to play basketball. However, the player who caused the broken nose would likely be held liable if he/she intentionally broke the injured player’s nose. In this instance the assumption of risk doctrine would not protect the defendant player because getting intentionally punched in the face is not the type of risk that basketball players assume when they agree to play the game.

Childhood Sports Injuries 

Unfortunately, children are often injured while playing sports. The basic legal principles discussed above apply to child athletes as well as adult athletes, however it should be noted that sports injury personal injury cases involving children are often complicated by liability waivers. Before a minor is allowed to participate in an organized sporting event their parents are often required to sign a liability waiver absolving the organizer from any liability for injuries resulting out of the sporting event. While liability waivers do protect providers from liability under some circumstances it is important to note that they are not always effective. Therefore, regardless of whether or not you signed a liability waiver be aware that your injured child may still be entitled to compensation.

Contact Us for Help Today 

If you or your child were injured due to someone else’s negligent or wrongful act while playing a sport in Iowa be sure to consult with a local personal injury attorney about your legal options without delay. Here at the Noyes Law Office P.C. we offer a free no obligation initial consultation to any injured individual who is interested in pursuing the financial compensation that they are legally entitled to. To find out what our firm can do for you contact our Fairfield office today at (641) 472-3236.

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