Sport Injury Lawyer - Accident Compensation
Canada is a country with a long history of practicing some of the most dangerous physical sports in the world. Every year thousands of sportsmen suffer avoidable physical injury caused by negligent acts or the deliberate aggressive behavior of others. Organized sport whether it be professional trainers, sports facilities, leagues or teams are usually insured to cover the risk of negligent injury to an innocent participant. A sport injury lawyer will advise you on the likelihood of a successful compensation claim and if negotiations for a settlement fail will file proceedings for damages in a court of law. Most sporting injury falls into several main categories which include :-
- reckless or deliberate unlawful and in some cases illegal behavior including the so called disgraceful 'professional foul'
- a formal trainer exposing his pupil to unnecessary risk by either inadequate instruction or by pushing the pupil beyond the bounds of capability
- violent assault during training or on the pitch in a match which is both unlawful and illegal and can result in civil proceeding for compensation and criminal conviction
- inadequate refereeing resulting in loss of control of a high-risk aspect of the sport
- Inadequate playing surfaces or dangerous equipment may make the occupier of the property or land liable in negligence to pay compensation for any injury
The goal of the sport injury lawyer is to get the maximum possible financial settlement for a person injured at a sporting event, when the responsibility for injury rests with a negligent third party. The compensation claim should cover pain and suffering, the cost of healthcare, the expense of disability, loss of earnings and other reasonably incurred losses. There are specialist sports injury lawyers who understand the law relating to sports injuries, including the statute of limitations, the mechanisms of sports-related injuries and the various defendants that are possible in any given sporting injury incident. In a fatal sports injury, the family of the deceased may be able to file a claim for loss of support and for other expenses and financial losses arising from the death.
The realm of sports injuries is large, varied and complex. Personal injury can occur as a result of player foul play, facilities that are defective, supervision that is inadequate, equipment that is faulty and intentional criminal assault by a player on another player or by a spectator or any another person. In general, almost all claims are made against the liability insurer of the sports facility, the league or the educational establishment including the school, college or university involved in the incident although personal claims are occasionally made against wealthy individuals especially spectators. Sport injury lawyers need to be specialists in their field because personal injury caused within a sporting scenario is a broad topic that needs expertise to deal with properly in order to to maximize the amount of any financial award.
Sport Injury Negligence Law
A sport injury lawyer is especially trained in personal injury associated with sports. They understand the nuances of a compensation claim against a school, gym or other sporting venue. In the vast majority of cases, they choose a no win no fee scenario so their clients don't have to pay unless the case is won. Negligence must be proved in order for you to file a successful claim with the court system. This means that the accident would not have occurred if one or more individuals hadn't been careless. Accidents and injuries can also occur out of Canada. In these cases, a Canada-based lawyer helps a foreign lawyer, who will run the case until its conclusion.
The law of negligence has been developing for almost a century when a legal case established the principle of 'duty of care' however there were previous cases that were settled using the same reasoning. The age-old definition is as follows :-
"Negligence is the omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided upon those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, or doing something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do."
Most jurisdictions including Canada require 4 elements to establish the right to claim compensation for negligence as follows: -
- the defendant must owe the claimant a duty of care
- the defendant must have breached that duty by act or omission
- the claimant must have suffered loss directly because of the breach
- the injury sustained must be a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the negligent behavior
The general principles of the law of negligence have continued to develop and more recently a threefold test was outlined in litigation whereby harm must be (1) reasonably foreseeable (2) there must be a relationship of proximity between the plaintiff and defendant and (3) it must be 'fair, just and reasonable' to impose liability.
A sport injury lawyer must be familiar with a wide range of potential claims including :-
- Criminal injury compensation claim in the case of violent criminal assault on a player or spectator.
- Application to a court of law to argue the issue of foul play causing injury which may verge on criminal behavior.
- Injures caused by a so called ‘professional foul’.
- The need to recognize when there has been a mistake on the part of a coach or trainer which amounts to negligence.
- Poor refereeing that has been the effective cause of the injury.
- Defective facilities including building’s and playing areas which must be adequate for the sport being played.
- All equipment used in a sporting environment must be well maintained and in good working order.
- Failure to instruct on usage of equipment either in writing or by personal means.
Most sports carry a certain degree of inherent risk. Not all sporting injuries can sustain a claim. Some injuries are just not preventable and there is no negligence. You cannot usually make a claim if the injury happened in the natural course of the play. If, however, there is a defect on the tennis court or racquet-ball court, the failure of proper action of a referee, poor supervision, reckless actions on the part of other players or incorrect knowledge given by the trainer, the possibility of a claim exists. If equipment is defective, the maker or wholesaler or supplier of the equipment may become involved in the litigation.
In a sports injury compensation case, the defendant (negligent party), who is usually represented and indemnified by an insurance company, has to pay their lawyer the whole time, whether or not they win the case. The plaintiff (injured party) however does not usually have to pay their lawyer unless the case is won. If the case is lost there are no legal charges to pay. In general the lawyer sues related sporting organizations, schools or other sporting venues rather than the player. The main sports involved in personal injury litigation are as follows :-
- Ice hockey or "hockey" is notorious for players being injured either in fair play, gamesmanship or brawls. Professional fouls are rife and the game is a major area of litigation.
- Lacrosse involves a degree of physical contact and use of a hard bat with plenty of opportunity for injury with players padding up for a game.
- Canadian Football shares it origins with American Football both of which are serious contact sports with inevitable head, neck and spinal injury.
- Basketball is fast-paced with many sudden turns. Knee injuries are common as are finger injuries. Hand and wrist injuries are less common. Brain injuries can come from falling, perhaps by being pushed and there are commonly chronic brain injuries with severe falls and brain damage.
- Boxing has a high rate of injury, even if the players wear protective equipment. The most common types of injuries include head injuries, nose bleeds, broken nose, sprains of the hand and wrist and facial injuries. The brain injuries can be severe and can result in a form of dementia due to being knocked out too many times.
- Cycling causes the second most head injuries in sport. Cycling related deaths occur usually as a result of a fall or motor vehicle collision. You can also be injured in the wrist or outstretched hand by trying to catch yourself with your fall. Abrasion and lacerations are common and severe injuries can lead to shoulder dislocation, pelvic fractures or internal damage to internal organs.
- Soccer players can sprain their ankles and receive knee injuries. Fractures of the tibia and fibula are common. Brain injury dementia occurs when a soccer player receives many hard hits to the head.
- Golf injuries happen by doing an abnormal swing, wrenching one's back and getting hit by the golf ball in a sensitive area. Golfers can injure their lumbar spines during the act of swinging at the ball. Shoulder and elbow injuries (golfer's elbow) commonly occur in people who don't warm up enough.
- Tennis injuries are usually related to the shoulder, elbow and rotator cuff. Even ankle sprains are possible, including Achilles' tendonitis. Overall, however, tennis injuries are mild and self limited. It is rare that a tennis player must stop playing the sport due to chronic injury.
- Gymnastics feature mainly due to inadequate instruction and supervision together with faulty equipment which may have obvious mechanical defects or may collapse structurally.
Sports event casualties usually relate to injuries to players or referees however an unacceptable number of spectators also get injured at sporting events. Most situations where a spectator is injured involve flying objects such as balls or pucks or bats. Large numbers of spectators can also be injured if there is poor control of the crowd which frequently results in fatalities due to crushing or stamping. Accidents related to flying debris at motor sports meetings are common. In addition a player can deliberately injure a spectator and a spectator can injure another spectator which in all cases involves a criminal offence.
The amount of damages awarded by a judge in a personal injury compensation claim depends on a number of factors. The main items of compensation are for pain and suffering which is determined on the basis of the extent of the injury, the recovery period and long term disabilities. The amount for pain and suffering is assessed by comparing with previously decided cases. The other main items include past and future estimated wages loss and the cost of long term care where appropriate. Lesser items that may be claimed include :-
- loss of lifestyle
- disadvantage on the job market
- property damage
- medical expenses
- special equipment
- out of pocket expenses
When an individual is injured in a sporting environment, the plaintiff has a restricted time period to make a compensation claim within the court system. That period of time is known as the ‘limitation period’ and is governed by legislation in the form of a statute of limitation. If you attempt to file a claim in a court of law after that period of time, it is generally considered too late and the court will not allow papers to be filed. The opportunity to claim compensation, subject to certain exceptions will have been lost forever. The exceptions generally apply to minors and the mentally incapacitated with the court having discretion.
The injured person who is called the plaintiff can file a claim for personal injury and loss within the limitation period. The other party is called the defendant and is usually represented by a lawyer instructed by the defendant’s insurers. Legal proceedings are generally only filed by the claimant once the medical situation has resolved or stabilized.
Issues related to limitation periods can be complex and depend on several factors related to the location, the proposed defendant and the facts of the case. The statute of limitations can vary depending on the type of case, the age of the injured party and mental capacity. If you are in any doubt about limitation issues you should seek qualified legal advice from a sports injury lawyer without delay.
Sport Injury Lawyer
In most legal cases, the plaintiff and the defendant both pay their respective lawyers, regardless of whether or not they win or lose. Most personal injury cases do not work this way. The defendant has to pay his or her sport injury lawyer at all times, but plaintiffs only pay their lawyers if the case is won and compensation is received. A plaintiff in a personal injury case does not have to pay their lawyer any money whatsoever while the case is going on. If the law suit is lost, no one receives any money, including the claimant and their lawyer. If, on the other hand, the case is successful, the injured party receives compensation for personal injury and loss and the sport injury lawyer receives a percentage of the total sum awarded.
If you would like to talk to an experience sport injury lawyer without obligation then just call the helpline or email our offices or complete and send the contact form and an accident lawyer who deals exclusively in personal injury claims will phone you with advice at no cost and information on how best to preserve your legal rights to compensation for your injuries.