Can Professional Athletes Sue Other Athletes/Teams for Injuries?
Brian White | February 18, 2016 | Personal Injury
Personal injury law is a complex practice that largely hinges on negligence. Though professional athletes engage in a high degree of physical contact, these laws do still apply. In situations where one athlete or an organization’s negligence injures a performer, the victim may seek legal damages.
The NFL’s Precedent
This is a major issue currently unfolding in the National Football League. In a dispute that traces back to the league’s roots, retired NFL players and legal counselors have meticulously scrutinized the NFL’s failure to address the seriousness of concussion-related injuries.
In this case, the organization was responsible for developing an effective concussion protocol to protect players, providing effective and thorough safety measures, and creating rules that mandated performance standards and responses to potential injuries. This is an issue that involves everyone participating, from the president of the organization to the franchise owners, coaches, and athletes. In 2013, the NFL reached a $765 million settlement to compensate players for its inadequate and unsafe practices.
In addition to personal damages as a result of poor organization and deceit at a corporate level, the players must watch how they conduct themselves while they perform daily. Guidelines are crafted carefully to minimize the risk of injury, and though physical contact is a part of many sports, the leagues and their players must follow these regulations. Simple violations of a sport’s rules may not warrant a claim, but explicitly dangerous acts may lead to litigation.
For example, in hockey, it is illegal to swing one’s stick at another player – which is also known as slashing. Of course, swinging sticks is simply a part of the game, and contact like this is fairly routine. Being sent to the penalty box for a slashing penalty is not grounds for a personal injury claim. However, if a player deliberately swings his or her stick at an opponent’s head, it may be grounds for litigation. Such an action has nothing to do with the sport, and it is incredibly dangerous. In fact, there are specific considerations that regulate such behavior on a legal level.
For example, in these situations, the risk is known but disregarded. Keep in mind that these are professional athletes. They are not new to the sport, and the rules are well known. Understanding these hazards and still choosing to act beyond them is a clear display of recklessness; for amateurs, more common negligence laws govern this conduct.
Review Your Claim
Negligent and reckless actions are especially inexcusable today, where the consequences of injury are documented extensively and research has proven that issues, like concussions, can lead to extensive, life-altering damages. When a person’s entire well-being is altered dynamically because of a person’s aggressive neglect, whether or not it occurred while playing a game, there should be consequences.
Houston personal injury lawyer Brian White understands these laws, and we are familiar with how an injury can affect a person physically, mentally, and emotionally. Moreover, we understand how damages can keep you from pursuing your professional career or playing at the same level. When we pursue compensation for damages, we take each of these factors into account – which often leads to the best recompense possible for our clients.
Though these awards may not alleviate pain, they can help athletes pay for medical bills, recuperate, and restore their quality of life as much as possible. For more information on how negligence claims and recklessness works on the court, rink, or field, contact us today.