Engaging in high school and intercollegiate sports offers numerous benefits, teaching valuable life lessons such as teamwork, responsibility, and interpersonal skills. However, the physical nature of sports, particularly high-contact ones such as football and hockey, brings about the risk of injuries. In the United States, an estimated 40 million young adults, children and adolescents participate in organized sports annually, leading to a significant number of sports-related injuries each year, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). As a parent, one might wonder what legal remedies, if any, are available to those who have been injured.
When a student-athlete joins a sports team, parents are usually required to sign a release and waiver, shielding a school and those affiliated with it from liability in the event of injury. This legal document serves as a preventive measure against liability and personal injury lawsuits. It also serves as notice to parents that they acknowledge and assume the risks associated with their child participating in a sport.
The legal concept of “assumption of risk” implies that both parents and teens were aware of potential injury risks, but chose to proceed anyway. This legally protects parties from injury lawsuits arising during sports activities. Additionally, taking legal action against a public school or university presents a host of challenges due to the concept of governmental immunity. This special status granted to public institutions shields them from certain types of lawsuits.
Despite these obstacles, exceptions exist and obtaining compensation may still be possible under Indiana law. Simply stating that a student cannot sue following an injury does not automatically render a waiver enforceable in a court of law. Intentional acts and gross negligence that result in injury may open the door to a personal injury claim. Similarly, if sports equipment is deemed faulty, claims may be directed at a manufacturer, designer, distributor, or relevant parties under product liability laws.
Successfully litigating against a school for a child’s football, hockey, basketball or other sports-related injury requires a skilled personal injury attorney that can overcome challenges for potential plaintiffs, including the assumption of risk, the absence of foreseeability, and governmental immunity laws.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a sporty-related injury, contact our Indiana personal injury law firm to discuss your case and we will evaluate it at no charge to you. We have decades of combined experience fighting for our clients in any number of personal injury claims. We work on a contingency basis, meaning there is no cost to you unless we reach a settlement or jury verdict award on your behalf.
Call 317-636-0808 or complete the form below for a FREE and confidential consultation.