As a Central and Syracuse New York sports injury lawyer, I can tell you that sports injury cases in New York are not easy. I like to tell my clients that they are like a soufflé. They will fall flat unless they are made of the right ingredients. That’s why a sports injury lawyer must listen carefully to the client to learn whether he or she is bringing the right ingredients to the kitchen.
What are those ingredients? Well, first let’s talk about what they are NOT. If you or your child is injured in a sporting event in which you or he or she voluntarily participated, a legal doctrine called “assumption of the risk” generally bars the claim. For example, if you are playing basketball and the ball hits you in the face, and causes you to lose some teeth, you generally can’t sue anyone because that’s just one of the risks inherent in the game of basketball. New York sports injury law says you are deemed to have assumed that risk when you agreed to participate in the game. Tough luck!
Sure, that player who tossed the ball at you could have been more careful, and maybe the coach or ref could have policed the game better, but hey, getting a ball slammed in your face is still just one of the risks inherent in the game of basketball. Getting to a jury on those facts will be tough. Your soufflé is toast!
What are the good ingredients of a New York sports accident lawsuit? In general, the best ingredient is an injury suffered from risks or dangers that are not part of (“inherent in”) the game. So if you are playing basketball and slip on a wet spot caused by a leaky roof, and you were not aware of the spot before you slid in it and tore out your ACL, well now we’re cooking. Slippery floors caused by badly maintained roofs are not one of the risks inherent in the game of basketball.
But the difference between sports injuries you can sue for those you can’t is not always black and white. There is a lot of gray area between risks “inherent” in the sport, for which you can’t sue, and those that are not.
To muddy the waters still further, there are exceptions to the general rule of “assumption of the risk” for sports injuries. For example, if your child is hurt during mandatory gym class at school, he cannot be said to have voluntarily assumed the risks, since he was required to participate. Therefore, in gym class, the “assumption of the risk” doctrine generally does not apply. And when the child is very young or has no experience in the sport, he or she may be deemed to young to have truly knowingly assumed the risks.
Deciding whether a sporting injury claim can be brought involves a complex legal analysis. You can only know for sure if you have a valid claim by having a qualified New York sports accident lawyer review the facts of your case. If you or someone you love is injured in a New York sporting accident, why not call a New York sports injury lawyer to get a review of your case? A good sports accident lawyer will listen to you carefully to see if you have the right ingredients, and will let you know either way.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer Michaels & Smolak, P.C.