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Who Is Liable for Brain Injuries From Playing Sports?

Engaging in physical sports will always carry a degree of risk. The dangers of brain injuries are obvious in contact sports like football, basketball, soccer, and rugby, but are in no way limited only to them. Weightlifting, swimming, diving, pole vaulting — athletes in these individual sports are just as (if not more) vulnerable to accidents that could result in traumatic brain injury or TBI.

Prevalence of TBI in the US

According to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of TBI, constituting 50.2 percent of TBI cases in children (up to 14 years old) and 60.7 percent among seniors (adults 65 years or older). Getting struck by or colliding with moving or stationary objects ranked third, making up 24.8 percent of TBIs among children.

Falling, getting struck, colliding with moving or stationary objects — these are common in sports, and athletes can experience them during training and competitions. If they do, who will be liable for their injury? Our brain injury attorneys in Los Angeles can discuss this in detail with you, but as a preamble, below are the possibilities the courts might consider.

People/Organizations with Liability

There is no black-and-white answer to who has liability when an athlete suffers a brain injury while playing their sport. It’s because there are many factors to consider and entities who share the responsibility of keeping athletes safe and unharmed.

  1. The athletes themselves – Any lawsuit against a sports organization is often tempered by the argument that the injured athletes are responsible because they decide what to do on the field, ring, ice, or whatever venue they play in. Additionally, athletes know the risks of their sport and their very presence in a competition or participation in training is an acknowledgment of the danger their sport entails. Athletes can also be made accountable if they performed risky moves in clear disobedience to their trainers and coaches.
  2. Coaches – many would argue that coaches have just as much if not more liability as athletes because they are in charge of the training and teaching. It’s their job to instruct how to execute potentially dangerous moves safely. During competitions, coaches also advise athletes what to do to win their matches. They could be liable for damages for TBI if they overlook the dangers of a move or insist that athletes perform certain routines despite knowing the risk to the latter’s health and safety.
  3. Sports Leagues and Competition Organizers – Leagues and organizing committees can be held accountable for sports accidents if they commit oversight or fail in their duty to provide a safe environment for athletes. By inviting athletes to participate in their events, it is implicit that they are taking responsibility for the integrity and safety of the facilities, equipment, and safety gear that athletes will use. A lack of qualified staff and medical personnel, defective sports equipment, inadequate on-site preparations, lack of guidance for participants — if any of these result in sporting accidents, injured athletes are entitled to seek compensation from the organizations behind it.

Hire a Los Angeles Sports Injury Attorney at Haffner Law

As with any personal injury and TBI claim or lawsuit, plaintiffs or the party making a claim must present proof of the other party’s liability. This is to prove their legal obligation to compensate the plaintiff for the damages they suffered. The claims process is complicated for sports-related injuries because of the many factors and parties involved that can take a share of the blame.

If you or someone you know suffers TBI because of a sports injury, you must hire experienced, savvy personal injury attorneys who know how to determine liability and will push for the maximum value for claims and damages. Athletes who are victims of other people’s negligence shouldn’t be made to suffer financially on top of the lifelong effects a brain injury is sure to inflict.

You can trust our brain injury attorneys at Haffner Law to see to your rights as a victim of a sporting accident. Contact us today.


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