hero-desktop-nogradient (2)

Youth Sports Injuries – What Are Your Rights To Compensation?

April 14, 2017 By John Torgenson

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a child or young adult will visit the emergency room due to a sports-related personal injury every 25 seconds. If you do the math, that accounts for 1.35 million ER visits per year! Of those 1.35 million ER visits, concussions are responsible for 163,000 of them, or 12 percent.  So, before registering your children for action and contact sports, here is what your Arizona injury attorneys at Torgenson Law think you need to know.

Which Sports Are The Most Dangerous?

First and foremost, I would like to state that I believe the benefits your children will gain from participating in youth sports far outweigh the potential for personal injury. That being said, before registering your children to participate in sports, you may want to know which are responsible for the most head injuries. As one would expect, the sport that is responsible for the most overall injuries as well as concussions is football. Wrestling and perhaps surprising to some, cheerleading have the second and third highest concussion rates. Last but not least, the sport with the highest percentage of concussion injuries is ice hockey.

When Do Injuries Occur?

Most would probably assume that the majority of these injuries occur throughout the regular course of gameplay however; statistics show that over 60 percent of personal injuries in youth sports occur during practice.  While there are a few reasons that may explain this phenomenon, one major factor is that parents and coaches are typically less focused on safety during practice. In addition, it is not uncommon for players to go without full protective gear and penalties are usually not assessed in practice scenarios.

Are You and Your Family Are Covered?

Statistics do show that personal injuries are common in youth sports however, severe life altering injuries are quite minuscule compared to the number of youth participating in action and contact sports. So, while the incident rate for personal injuries with catastrophic and life-altering results may be extremely low, one must understand that they do happen! As such, you need to know the ins and outs of your coverage before registering your child in sports. It is imperative that your family is protected to avoid what could be an unexpected hefty bill. Here are some things you will want to know:

  • Ask your insurance provider if sports-related injuries are covered. Be specific about the particular sport as it can affect your coverage. (Some providers do not consider cheerleading a sport and may refuse to cover “sports injuries” sustained in this “non-sport” activity);
  • Speak with the school or athletic organization to see if there is insurance coverage for your child if an injury does occur. Chances are you will be required to sign a waiver releasing liability. If this is the case, refer to the first bulleted point and make sure your insurance provides coverage for such activities;
  • If your insurance carrier is not adequate for the risk posed in the sport, perhaps consider an alternate provider that will cater to your child’s athletic ambitions. Remember, it only takes one mishap to change your child’s life and you want to be protected!

Do Waivers Totally Waive Your Rights?

Once you have confirmed that your insurance carrier will provide coverage that meets the athletic needs of your child, you’re a step in the right direction. However, you need to be aware of the fact that your insurance company may be reluctant to provide coverage if a serious injury does occur. For this reason it is imperative that you know your rights. Although waivers may be in place, you still have the right to recover financial losses or file a lawsuit if the sports-related personal injury was caused by:

  • Negligence;
  • Unlawful Activity;
  • Violence from other players or parents;

There are several examples of negligence that could lead to sports related injuries, which include:

  • Failure to notice signs of trauma;
  • Failure to comply with safety protocol during games and practice;
  • Improper use and care of protective equipment and;
  • Failure to give injured players sufficient rest;

Aside from negligence, unlawful actions may also give rise to a sports related injury claim. In this regard, many states have passed legislation intended to protect young athletes from head injuries. For instance, it is not uncommon for an athletic organization to require a doctor’s note before allowing an athlete to participate following a concussion. If the laws are not followed and a youth player suffers a traumatic injury as a result, the family has the right to fair compensation.   

Whether it is caused by a player or a parent, violence in youth sports occurs far too often. While some amount of injury is expected in action and contact sports, it should not be due to an overzealous parent, or an opposing team intentionally targeting a player with action that is beyond what should be expected and reasonable of normal gameplay. If an injury does occur for the above-mentioned reason, then the family may have the right to compensation or file a lawsuit against the opposing team, coaching staff, or athletic organization.

If your child suffered a severe sports related injury as a result of negligent, unlawful activity or violence from another player or parent, you need to contact an experienced Arizona injury lawyer to explain your rights and assists in your recovery. As a parent, your job is to focus on your child’s recovery, not navigating the legal system and battling insurance companies. Simply stating it, insurance providers are in the business to make a profit and costly injuries do not align with that goal. Luckily for you, that is why your Arizona personal injuries attorneys at Torgenson Law are here to help you. Regardless of the waiver you signed or the risk you knowingly assumed, you may be due compensation for sports-related injuries. Contact Torgenson Law at (602) 726-0747 for a free consultation.

John Torgenson portrait

John Torgenson

John Torgenson is a highly experienced personal injury lawyer with over 20 years of practice in Arizona. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah and his Juris Doctor from Notre Dame. John has a proven track record of securing substantial verdicts and settlements, including an $8.25 million recovery for a gunshot injury victim. His expertise has earned him AVVO ratings and recognition as a Super Lawyer.

John is also a sought-after lecturer on personal injury law, sharing his extensive knowledge with peers and aspiring attorneys. Beyond his legal practice, John is an avid golfer and actively supports organizations like the Military Assistance Mission, Arizona School for the Arts, Page Balloon Regatta, University of Arizona Foundation, Junior Achievement of Arizona, and the Tim Huff Pro Bono Golf Classic.

Passionate about advocating for injury victims, John dedicates his career to battling insurance companies and corporate interests, ensuring that the rights of those who are hurt are vigorously defended.