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What Responsibilities Do Schools Have to Prevent Sport-Related Injuries?

The phone call informing you that your child has been seriously injured during a sporting event or practice at school can be terrifying and infuriating. The coach and the school are responsible for keeping your child safe, right? How could something like this happen?

Unfortunately, sport-related injuries are quite common. They can be difficult to prevent, even when following all the basic safety rules. In the United States, sport-related injuries send more than 2.5 million children under the age of nineteen to the emergency room.

Though injuries happen in a variety of sports, the most dangerous school sports include football, cheerleading, lacrosse, wrestling and basketball. However, just because you can expect some injuries does not mean that no one bears responsibility if they occur. In cases of negligence, schools and other responsible parties may face consequences for the resulting damages.

Proving Fault

Your school district owes a duty of care to its students — as well as coaches, teachers, and administrators. If a school breaks this duty of care, and that breach leads to a serious injury, the time has come to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Common examples of negligence on the part of school districts include:

  • Unsafe conditions on school property,
  • Employing an unqualified coach or teacher,
  • Failure to inform parents of potentially dangerous conditions, or
  • The negligence of otherwise qualified employees.

It can be difficult to prove negligence, but certainly not impossible. An experienced Alameda personal injury attorney can help you gather necessary documentation, file your lawsuit, and gather evidence to support your claim.

Ordinary Negligence

There are certain injuries that most school districts assume students could incur during sporting events or practices. For example, injuries from tackles in football or injuries from a hard pass in basketball are common, even under the best of circumstances.

Schools will generally send a waiver for parents to sign before a student can begin training for a particular sport. These waivers protect the school from liability related to “ordinary negligence”. If such a waiver lists one of these common injuries, then parents who signed that document do not have the right to sue.

Filing Your Lawsuit

Once you have decided to file a lawsuit against the school district, you will need to determine who is at fault for the injury. This could be a coach, another student, an equipment manufacturer, an instructor, or the school itself. You may choose to list multiple defendants.

Since school districts are also government organizations, you may need to file a special notice before proceeding. There may also be strict filing deadlines.

Types of Compensation

If you can successfully prove that your school (or coach) was responsible for the injury in question, you may qualify to receive compensation for your damages. Qualifying damages include:

  • Medical Bills
  • Loss of Income
  • Permanent Disfigurement or Scarring
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Emergency Room Treatment
  • Future Medical Costs
  • Loss of Future Income

Depending on the severity of the injury, compensation may amount to thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney for Representation

After suffering an injury at a school sporting event or during practice, students and families can have a tough time adapting. Filing a lawsuit could be an important step in recovery. Encouraging your child to keep a journal while they recover could not only help them cope with their injuries, it could provide valuable evidence down the road. The laws surrounding school responsibility are very complex. Contact our experienced Alameda personal injury attorney for further assistance. Our number is (510) 944-0110, and the initial consultation is free.

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