Injury Attorney in Texas

Personal Injury

Depending on the given pastime, Sports Injuries are common and often universally accepted as part of the game. Most athletes “assume the risk” when participating in a given sport, realizing that injuries are inherent, conditional on the level of contact involved.

But just because injuries are attributable to a given sport doesn’t mean there can’t be liability. Even if a release form has been signed, grounds for liability can exist due to negligence. Organizations can be held accountable if, for example, coaches abuse their authority, or if the equipment supplied for protection is inadequate, impaired, or defective.

But aside from peripheral forces, sports participants are often held criminally liable for their on-the-field actions. A couple of more prominent cases involved players from the National Hockey League. In 1988, Minnesota’s Dino Ciccarelli was found guilty of assault when he smacked Toronto’s Luke Richardson twice in the head with his stick. Ciccarelli was fined $1,000.00 and was ordered to spend one day in jail. In 2000, Marty McSorley conked Donald Brashear in the head with his stick; a reeling Brashear fell backwards and hit his head on the ice, rendering him unconscious. Brashear was later diagnosed with a grade III concussion. The court found McSorley guilty of assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced him to 18 months probation. Subsequently, the NHL suspended McSorley for a full year, and he never played another game.

The fact that McSorley’s attorney argued hockey players give “explicit consent” to the risk of on-ice contact misses the point. Both McSorley and Ciccaarelli used their stick in a manner unintended within the decorum of the sport.

In general, liability does not attach to sports injuries that result from a risk inherent to the nature of the competitive activity unless the act, error, or omission constitutes:

  • · Gross negligence, or

  • · Wanton, willful, or intentional misconduct.

Whether a risk is deemed “inherent” within the nature of the competitive activity depends upon:

  • (a) The nature of the sport in question,

  • (b) The conduct that is generally accepted in the sport, and

  • (c) Whether the harm occurred during the pursuit of the purposes of the competition.

Have you, or someone you know, suffered injury through athletic competition? Let us sort through the on-field issues of compliance.

Setterberg Law Office