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School Liability for Serious Sports Injuries

by John Gomez | Last Updated: April 29, 2016

There are many variables surrounding liability in the event of a serious sports injury on school grounds. The laws are complex, and confusion about them often leaves parents and students feeling inadequate in their fight against injustice. The court often dismisses school sports injury lawsuits after the deposition because the victim is unable to prove negligence.

When Does a School Have Liability for a sports injury?

Schools have legal duties to protect their athletes, but schools often write off most injuries that occur on campus as a normal part of competitive sports that parents and participants should consider when joining a team. Parents, however, argue that the school, coach, or administrators have acted negligently in their duties to protect students, and therefore they should be responsible for some injuries.

Usually, students who wish to participate in school sports must sign a liability waiver stating that they understand the risk of injury, and that they won’t hold the school responsible in the event of such injury. Such waivers do stand up in a court of law and are typically the reason these cases don’t even make it to trial. Because public schools operate as a government agency, the law extends especially to protect them from lawsuits.

If, however, plaintiffs can prove negligence on the part of the school or coach caused their injury, they may have a case. Typical negligence claims are against the coach of the team and involve accusations of promoting unsafe behaviors, failing to remedy hazardous situations (such as not giving water to players during practices), allowing injured players to compete, failing to provide proper training, or allowing an authorized person to take over coaching responsibilities.

Proving Negligence in a Serious Sports Injury

If your child sustains an injury during a school sport, you must prove the school or coach acted negligently in some capacity. Even though sports injuries are common and accepted as a normal part of school sports, that’s not to say that every case will come to nothing. Preventable injuries that happen because of someone’s lack of diligence can be a reason for a personal injury lawsuit.

Even if you signed a waiver before your child engaged in a school sport, it doesn’t mean the school is completely safe from liability. Taking on an entire school for your child’s injury is a large undertaking, and you may not feel supported by your peers or others who believe the injury is a natural part of competitive sports. However, if your child is hurt due to preventable negligence, your fight for compensation can ensure a similar incident doesn’t happen to other students.

About 62% of school sports-related injuries occur during practice instead of a game, pointing to a problem with the coaching techniques of many school coaches. Heat-related illnesses, repetitive motion injuries, muscle strains, and more have all been the result of coaches pushing children past a reasonable point of physical exercise and acting negligently in their responsibility to provide for the wellbeing of their team.

What to do When Your Child Been Injured During a Sport

If you plan to fight your child’s school about an injury he or she sustained during school sports, you’ll need expert legal representation to stand a chance. It may be difficult to win cases against schools in the event of a sports injury, but Gomez Trial Attorneys takes these cases very seriously and can provide you with experienced, award-winning legal representation in the San Diego area.

At Gomez Trial Attorneys, we don’t take childhood injuries lightly, regardless of the circumstances. If someone is at fault for your child’s injury, we will help you receive the compensation you deserve for medical bills, future care, and pain and suffering. We offer a free case evaluation so you can speak with one of our personal injury experts about your case and discover your legal options. Call us today at (619) 237-3490 to learn more.





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