Sports Injury Lawsuit FAQs

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With a temperate climate and excellent access to outdoor recreation opportunities, California is a sports enthusiast’s dream. Californians of all ages participate in a wide range of sporting events, from classic team sports like soccer and volleyball to challenging individual endeavors like mountain biking and rock climbing.

Most sports players accept that there is a certain level of risk that comes with participating in any intense physical activity. While that is true, not all sports injuries result from bad luck or individual mistakes. In some cases, participants suffer serious injuries because of negligence on the part of an organization, coach, player, or another third party. When this happens, players are entitled to pursue legal action through a sports injury lawsuit. 

If you suffered a serious sports injury caused by someone else, Case Barnett Law is here to help. In this article, we will answer a few of our most frequently asked questions about sports injury lawsuits in hopes of providing clarity to your situation. 

Need legal help now? There is a time limit for filing sports injury claims, so don’t delay. Schedule a free consultation with Case Barnett Law to speak with a knowledgeable attorney today. 

1. What is considered negligence in a sports injury?

As with other personal injury cases, negligence refers to a party’s failure to act with a reasonable level of care to prevent someone from being injured. In other words, a party may be considered negligent if they fail to act like a reasonably responsible person would in their situation and anSports Injury In California injury occurs as a result. 

To establish negligence in California, a plaintiff typically needs to demonstrate four important elements: 

  1. Duty of care. The plaintiff needs to prove the defendant owed them a duty of care, such as a reasonably safe playing environment, fully functioning equipment, adequate warning of the dangers, etc. 
  2. Breach of duty. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached their duty of care. For example, if a football coach gives his player an outdated, poorly fitting helmet to use in the football game, that may be considered a breach of duty.  
  3. Causation. The plaintiff must establish a direct link between the defendant’s breach of duty and their injury. For example, if the football coach provides his minor player with an old, poorly fitting helmet instead of a properly functioning helmet, and the helmet slips off during a tackle, there is a causal link between the coach’s actions and the player’s head injuries. 
  4. Damages. In order to secure a settlement, the plaintiff needs to have suffered actual damages from their injury. This may include physical injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. 

Although sports players automatically assume a certain level of risk by participating, they are not responsible for injuries caused by another party’s negligence. 

2. Can I still file a sports injury lawsuit if I signed a liability waiver?

Yes — you can file a sports injury lawsuit even if you signed a liability waiver. However, your case’s viability will depend on the nature of your injuries, the specific details of your case, and the contents of the waiver. California courts typically uphold properly drafted and executed liability waivers unless the plaintiff can prove one of the following elements: 

  • Your accident and resulting injury involved another party’s negligence or willful misconduct.
  • The waiver was unclear, ambiguous, or insufficiently specific about the risks being waived, or the signer didn’t have time to understand the terms. 
  • Your situation demands certain public policy considerations, such as in cases where there is a significant disparity in bargaining power between parties. 
  • The waiver was missing essential information that may have influenced your decision to participate, or it was signed under false pretenses. 
  • The waiver was signed by or for a minor to participate in a sports or recreational activity.

If your case involves any of these elements, a waiver may not be enforceable. A personal injury attorney can help you navigate these complexities and determine your eligibility. 

3. What types of damages can I recover in a sports injury lawsuit?

In California, plaintiffs can recover a variety of damages through a sports injury lawsuit. Most settlements include a range of compensatory damages, including compensation for economic and non-economic damages. These may include: 

  • Medical expenses, including costs for past and future accident-related care, hospital bills, surgery, medication, physical therapy, and more
  • Lost wages and future earnings for missed compensation during recovery and lost future earnings, if the accident resulted in partial or full disability
  • Pain and suffering, damages for physical pain and emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium, damages awarded if your relationship with your spouse or partner has been seriously negatively affected by your accident
  • Property damage, compensation for personal property that was destroyed or damaged during your accident

In rare cases, the court may also award punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, this type of compensation is awarded to punish the defendant for especially wanton or negligent behavior rather than to compensate the victim for their losses. 

4. What parties can be held liable in sports injury lawsuits?

Depending on the nature of your accident and the circumstances leading up to it, you may be able to hold various parties liable. Some of the parties that might be held liable for your damages include sports organizers and sponsors, facility owners and operators, coaches, other participants, schools, third-party service providers, and even equipment manufacturers. As determining liability is often difficult, it’s critical to work with a legal professional when trying to pinpoint the at-fault party. 

5. How long do I have to file a sports injury lawsuit in California? 

In California, the statute of limitations for most personal injury lawsuits — including sports injury claims — is two years. However, there are exceptions. For example, plaintiffs who don’t discover their injuries right away, minors, and plaintiffs whose cases are affected by absentee defendants may be granted additional time. Even in these cases, time is of the essence, which is why injury victims should consult an attorney as soon as possible. 

Case Barnett Law: Top Sports Injury Attorneys in Orange County, California

Sports injury lawsuits can be complex, and your ability to secure compensation depends on a variety of factors. One of those factors is the expertise of your attorney. Fortunately, you’re in good hands with Case Barnett Law. 

Have more questions? We have answers. Contact our law firm to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated sports injury lawyer today. 

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