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Can I Receive Compensation for My Injuries in Amateur Sports?

For some, playing amateur sports is a great recreational activity and fun way to get some exercise.  Many people like to play on teams that meet after work and on the weekends.  Others enjoy playing on high school and college teams and may even receive scholarships for doing so.  However, unlike professional athletes, amateurs do not necessarily have the same access to top-notch medical care that sports stars do for injuries sustained on the playing field.  In some cases, an injury may mean the end of an amateur’s sporting career, or in some severe cases even death.  The question then arises, who is liable for injuries sustained by athletes of amateur sports?  

Sports injuries are quite common, and athletes are assuming an inherent risk when they choose to participate.  However, there are certain situations in which liability of a third party may arise.  Although amateur athletes are usually required to sign a waiver, such documents usually do not insulate an athlete from raising a negligence claim.       

If an injury occurs to a high school or college athlete, the athlete might be able to sue their coach or school for negligence if the coach improperly instructed the athlete; chose incorrect equipment; or failed to properly supervise.  Additionally, a coach may be held liable if they allowed or forced an athlete to return to the playing field before an injury was healed.

 A sports facility may be held liable on the basis of premise liability if there was a condition that the management knew about or should have known about, and failed to repair.  Additionally, an athlete may bring a suit in tort for any intentional acts of coaches or other players that caused injury.  Generally, an athlete may not bring suit against a player on another team for an injury unless it was an intentional battery outside the course of play.

 If you are an amateur athlete and have sustained injuries as the result of a third party’s negligence, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can discuss your legal remedies with you.  Call Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP at (212)571-7171. 


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