Sports personal injury cases in California

There are many types of personal injury cases, from medical and legal malpractice and car accidents to slip and fall, and product liability. What do all personal injury cases have in common? The injuries sustained by the victims are the result of negligence, recklessness, or an intentional act on the part of another individual.

If you have been injured while playing a sport and your injury was caused by negligence, you may be able to recover financial compensation through a personal injury claim.

However, personal injury lawsuits involving sports injuries are challenging due to a legal principle known as “assumption of risk.” Simply put, an individual that voluntarily participates in a sport is putting themselves at risk of an injury. 

In addition, you may be asked to sign a waiver of liability before participating in a sport. In California, these types of waivers usually protect defendants from negligence, but not in cases involving gross negligence.

To ensure you will have a successful personal injury claim, you need to secure the services of a sports injury attorney who has been successful at negotiating settlements with insurance companies for their clients. 

Who is at fault?

In California, you can sue for a sports injury if you can prove that your injury was the result of gross negligence, intentional harm, irrational behavior, or foul play. The question then becomes who to sue in a personal injury case of this nature?

Potentially liable parties for sports injuries include, but are not limited to,

  • Coaches
  • Schools and other organizations
  • Other players
  • Manufacturers
  • Medical professionals

Other legal actions that could be applicable in a sports injury case include:

  • Product liability
  • Medical malpractice
  • Wrongful death 

Proving your case

According to the California Interscholastic Federation or CIF, athletic participation among students in high school sports throughout the state had increased for 8 years in a row, starting in 2011 and reaching an all-time high in 2020.

Unfortunately, it’s estimated that 1.35 million children are taken to hospital ERs with a sports-related injury each year in the U.S. However, schools, organizations, and coaches are not automatically liable for these injuries, even those that are serious or catastrophic.

Proving negligence in sports personal injury cases requires you to prove the following elements:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care
  • The defendant breached the applicable duty of care
  • Your injury was a direct result of that breach

If you feel your sport injury was caused by actions “beyond the scope ordinarily contemplated for the activity,” you may have a legitimate personal injury claim. If your injuries were the result of unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of another player, you may be able to sue for assault.

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