Typically, individuals in the professional sports industry know very well the risks involved in their craft. One of them is the sports injuries they could sustain as a result of their undertaking. More often, these sports injuries could range from minor afflictions, like strains and sprains, to major impairments, such as fractures and torn ligaments.
These problems could affect professional players many times in their careers and could result in major consequences. This is especially true if the injuries have something to do with the negligence of others. In such a case, a lawsuit could be filed by the injured victim to recover compensation for their injuries.
To learn the different types of negligence in professional sports, its elements, and how to prove them, keep reading this article:
What Is Negligence?
By definition, negligence refers to a blatant violation of a duty of care a person owes to someone else, which could result in physical harm to that person to whom the duty is owed. In the context of professional sports, a duty of care by one person to another is characterized in several ways.
For example, in contact sports, such as boxing or football, each player has the duty of care to each other. Also, the coaches and referees have a duty of care to their clients and players. When it comes to those who arrange sporting events, including clubs, they also owe a duty of care to the participants and others.
Moreover, to better understand what negligence is, it’s important to know the different types of negligence used in professional sports. These can include:
- Gross Negligence: Under this type, the negligence is so blatant and careless that it showed a complete disregard for the safety of others. In short, it’s considered a more serious type of negligence since it goes beyond a simple careless action.In the context of sports, gross negligence occurs when sports participants break the rules so badly to the point that it appears their primary purpose is to injure another player intentionally. Due to the seriousness of the negligence involved, the injured party may consider seeking help from an attorney to help them prove that the gross negligent acts of another caused them injury.
- Comparative Negligence: This is a type of negligence that occurs when the plaintiff or the injured individual suing the defendant is partially responsible for the harm they suffered.Depending on the extent of involvement, the plaintiff may be or may not be compensated for the damage done. This means if the injured sports player was partly to blame for their injury, the court will consider that person’s involvement before it determines whether they’re eligible for compensation or not.
- Contributory Negligence: Unlike comparative negligence, contributory negligence occurs when the plaintiff was partially to be blamed for their own injury but they couldn’t be eligible to obtain compensation. This is true even if the sports player’s involvement is 1%.
- Vicarious Liability: This is a unique type of negligence wherein an individual can be held responsible although they’re not directly responsible for the harm caused by another person. Under these cases, the defendant could be held accountable for the acts of negligence of others.For example, the owner of the club who provides sporting events to athletes could be responsible for the damage done by their employees.
Indeed, there are different types of negligence in professional sports. But regardless of which type of negligence is involved, the following are some common examples of negligence that could happen in the professional sports industry:
- Absence of an emergency medical plan
- Absence of proper rules for return to competition
- A sports playing field’s erratic design
- Failure to properly train an athlete, in terms of the skills needed as well as the best workout routine to follow in preparation for the competition
- Failure to adequately observe or stabilize the injured player
- Failure to warn sports players about the inherent and potential risks
- Failure to stop violent conduct of an opponent
- Inadequate supervision by the coach
- Inequitable matching of opponents
- Lack of equipment or improper fitting
What Are The Key Elements Of Negligence And How To Prove Them
Nowadays, the demand for extreme sports has increased considerably even after lockdowns have been eased, more than one year after the pandemic. And, as with contact sports professionals, extreme sports enthusiasts are exposed to higher risks of injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence.
Hence, it’s in every sports enthusiast’s interest to find out the main elements of negligence and how to prove them. These can include:
- Duty Of Care
This means the defendant in a negligence claim owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. Typically, to establish the duty of care in the context of professional sports, it’s important to prove the existence of a relationship between the plaintiff and defendant.
For example, a sports participant owes each other participant a duty of care, which is to exercise care that’s reasonable under the prevailing circumstances to avoid injury to other participants. By definition, prevailing circumstances refer to circumstances that are reasonably expected of the participants, such as objects of the sport, demands made on the participants, rules of the sport, the inherent danger, skills, judgments, and many more.
On the other hand, to prove a duty of care, the lawyer needs to gather pieces of evidence to show that a relationship between the plaintiff and defendant existed at the time the injury took place.
- Breach Of Duty
This means the court will determine whether the defendant violated the duty of care by assessing whether a reasonable person would have or not have done what the defendant did under the prevailing circumstances.
However, to successfully prove this element, it’s not enough that the defendant has a reckless disregard for the plaintiff’s safety. But it should be more serious than a mere lapse of skill or error of judgment. In such a case, it’s crucial to hire a lawyer who knows how to collect evidence to prove that the defendant breached a duty of care, which caused injury to the plaintiff.
Causation shows that the harm suffered by the plaintiff is directly related to the defendant’s negligent acts or breach of duty. To establish causation, the court will consider whether the defendant’s negligent actions could be the primary factor in causing the injury or whether the injury would’ve occurred for the defendant’s negligence.
Depending on the circumstances, the element of causation may be a complicated concept to prove before the court, and you most definitely need the help of a lawyer to establish it through the use of evidence. Pieces of evidence may include medical records, photos of the injuries, photos of the accident scene, expert testimonies, and many more.
Damages imply the plaintiff should show they suffered damages as a result of the defendant’s negligent actions. These damages could either be in the form of medical bills, loss of income, pain, and suffering, and many more.
With the help of a reliable personal injury lawyer, the plaintiff should be able to prove to the court that the economic and non-economic losses were incurred by presenting medical records and receipts or testimonies from an expert witness.
In some cases, sports injuries happen due to the negligent actions of an individual or entity. Because of this, it’s important to keep this article in mind to educate those in the professional sports industry about negligence and how it could affect anyone being injured by it. That way, they’ll know what to do to avoid negligence, as well as its costly and stressful legal implications.