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Is There Legal Recourse for Sports-Related Injuries?

Is There Legal Recourse for Sports-Related Injuries?

Most sports are inherently dangerous, even if they aren’t contact sports. For example, there is no contact in tennis, but you can still get seriously injured if a powerfully served ball hits you in the face. 

Typically, when someone gets injured due to the negligence of another party, they have the option to file a lawsuit for compensation. However, that rule of thumb usually doesn’t apply to sports-related injuries. 

When playing a sport, all players typically assume the risks involved with that sport. Thus, even if someone’s carelessness while playing caused you an injury, they likely aren’t responsible for the harm you suffered. There are exceptions, though. If you were injured while playing sports, you may be able to sue if one of the following exceptions apply. 


Most personal injury cases hinge on carelessness or negligence. However, as previously noted, you assume the risk of others being negligent when you engage in a sport. However, you don’t assume the risk that others are reckless. 

Recklessness implies behavior that increases the risk of others getting injured. For example, if you were to play basketball while drunk or put on a blindfold while playing roller derby, that would be considered reckless. If someone got hurt due to that recklessness, they could sue you. 

Actions Outside the Rules of the Sport 

This is similar to recklessness but usually involves intentional actions. Imagine that you are a boxer. A common sports-related injury you may suffer in boxing is a black eye from someone punching you too hard. That is expected. You are, after all, participating in a sport where your opponent is supposed to punch you. 

However, what if someone punched you while you were playing baseball? That would be a different situation. Punching other players is not part of the rules. Quite the opposite. The rules explicitly prohibit that activity. If you suffered a traumatic brain injury because another player punched you, it wouldn’t matter that you were playing a sport. 

Dangerous Premises 

Lawsuits aren’t always targeted at another player. You can also potentially file a lawsuit against the owner of the premises where you are playing. However, there are limitations to this. 

You still accept risks associated with the sport. For example, if you are skiing, you can’t sue the mountain owner because a tree was near the trail. Trees are an expected hazard on ski trails. However, you might be able to sue if the wreckage from a crashed snowmobile was strewn across the trail and the resort owner did nothing about it (including not warning skiers about the hazard). 

Determining whether premises owners took proper precautions is difficult. Unless you suffer some type of catastrophic injury, the courts are likely to rule that you knowingly took on the risk. 

Insurance Malfeasance 

Finally, just because you assumed risk, that doesn’t mean a responsible insurance company gets to deny or undervalue your claim. For example, in many sports tournaments, participants have the option of signing up for insurance to cover medical expenses if they are hurt while participating. 

If the insurance company tries to deny your legitimate claim or pay you less than you deserve, you could sue to get the money you deserve. Many insurance companies attempt to evade the obligations set upon them by their policies. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help you when the system breaks down like this. 

Consult With a Lawyer About Your Case 

It isn’t always obvious whether you have the option to file a lawsuit after suffering a sports-related injury in New York. While some situations are clear, many potential claims may be a very close call. 

An experienced lawyer is better equipped than the average person to determine whether a judge would allow a lawsuit to continue. They also may be able to help you find a compromise that doesn’t require a lawsuit.  

If a personal injury lawyer is uncertain whether your lawsuit will succeed, the attorney for the potential defendant will probably be equally uncertain. This is the type of situation where lawyers will negotiate settlements rather than risk the costs and uncertainty of a trial. 

Get Help From New York Personal Injury Lawyers for Sports-Related Injuries 

The experienced personal injury attorneys at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos understand the uncertainty involved with sports-related lawsuits. We will help determine your legal options given the circumstances of your case. 

Contact our law firm right away to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer who has extensive experience with these cases.