If you or your child was diagnosed with a brain injury due to a sporting accident, you probably have a lot of questions. Playing certain contact sports such as football and soccer comes with foreseeable risks, so you may be wondering if you have grounds for a personal injury claim at all. The easiest way to determine whether your case has merit is to schedule a free consultation with an attorney who handles tort cases involving brain injuries.
A brain injury lawyer can evaluate the circumstances of the accident and provide answers and guidance based on your specific case. Getting personalized advice is essential since each claim is unique. That said, below we have answered some general FAQs about brain injury claims involving sports accidents:
1. Who could be liable for damages arising from sports-related brain injuries?
The answer to this question depends on what caused the accident. Perhaps it was defective sports equipment, or maybe you were violently attacked by another competitor. Here are just a few parties who might be liable for damages depending on the circumstances:
- An Equipment Manufacturer: If your injury was caused by defective sports equipment or made worse due to an equipment malfunction, it may be possible to hold the manufacturer liable. Other parties that played a role in the development or distribution of the product could also be liable. Examples include the designer, retailer, and engineers.
- Another Competitor: If you were attacked by another competitor, that individual may be liable for the resulting damages.
- The School District: If the injury occurred during a school sports event, there are a number of parties who may be liable including a coach, school administrators, or a teacher. While a school can have parents sign a liability waiver in order for their children to participate in a sport, the school cannot force a parent to waive all risks that are not inherent to the sport. If it turns out that the brain injury was caused by the negligence of a teacher, coach, or facilities manager, it may be possible to hold the school district vicariously liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior.
2. What kinds of sports injury risks cannot be waived by the school?
Schools owe a duty of care to students to take reasonable steps to keep them safe from injuries. Even if you signed a liability waiver so your child could participate in school sports, you may still be able to hold the school liable for damages if the brain injury was caused by one of the following:
- Intentional Harm: If a teacher, coach, or another school employee intentionally harms a student, it is unlikely that a waiver would shield the school from liability.
- Negligent Maintenance of the Track, Field, or Court: Schools have a duty to keep their premises reasonably safe for students. If a school employee was aware of a dangerous condition on the court, track, or field yet reasonable steps were not taken to remedy the dangerous condition or to warn students about it, the school could be held liable for any resulting injuries.
- Sports Equipment That Had a Known Defect: If an employee of the school was aware that a piece of equipment had a defect yet did not take steps to fix the defect, replace the equipment, or warn students about it, the school may be liable for any resulting injuries. If the defect was unknown, it may be possible to hold the manufacturer strictly liable for damages.
- Inadequate Supervision: If the coach or another school employee failed to provide adequate supervision to students who were under their care and it is determined that the injury would not have happened if adequate supervision had been provided, the school might be liable.
- Coach Negligence: If the injury happened because students were overexerted or engaging in improper training techniques under their coach’s instruction, the school could be liable for the resulting injuries.
3. Can brain injury victims pursue compensation for future healthcare costs?
Yes. If another party was liable for your brain injury, you can seek compensation for any resulting healthcare expenses that you are reasonably certain to incur in the future.
In tort cases that involve brain injuries, the cost of ongoing healthcare can be substantial and often accounts for a significant portion of the final settlement or verdict. This is one reason why it is so important to consult an attorney who has extensive experience handling brain injury cases. Such a lawyer will understand how to approximate the value of future damages and will know the kinds of evidence needed to support those calculations. It is often necessary to bring in medical and financial experts to assist with the damages calculation and to provide deposition.
4. How long does it take to resolve a brain injury case?
The duration of the proceedings will depend on a number of factors and can vary considerably from one case to the next. Below are just a few of the factors that could impact how long it takes to resolve your case:
- The Amount of Compensation You Are Pursuing: If you are seeking a significant amount of money, which is common in tort claims involving brain injuries, the opposing party will have more incentive to dispute your claim.
- The Strength of Your Evidence: The stronger your evidence, the less likely the opposing party may be to challenge your claim.
- Whether You (or Your Child) Was Partially Liable: If you or your child contributed to the accident, the award of damages will be reduced by your own percentage of fault. This can lead to a dispute if the defendant disagrees with how fault is apportioned.
- Whether You Make Mistakes That Lead to a Dispute: A dispute may arise if you wait too long to visit a doctor, ignore the instructions of your healthcare team, provide a recorded statement to the opposing party, or discuss the case on social media.
Discuss Your Case with a Brain Injury Lawyer in Long Beach
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
Attorney Michael D. Waks can review your case in a free consultation and help you plot the way forward. Michael can take over the logistics of your claim and help you avoid critical mistakes throughout the proceedings. He will make sure your claim accounts for all the damages you may be owed. Call (562) 206-1939 or send us a message to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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