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Sports Injury Law

Sports are a pastime and are meant to be fun. Minor injuries can occur and are even inevitable in certain sports but serious injury caused by another person is a different story and may be grounds for a lawsuit.
If you have been injured by the actions of another player or a coach or a referee, you should first seek immediate medical attention. Then, depending on your situation, filing a lawsuit may be the appropriate next step for you. It is extremely important that the attorney you choose to handle your case is one who has handled sports injury cases before and is, therefore, familiar with this tricky area of the law.
Was it a contact or non-contact sport?
The general view of the courts is that sports are physical and sometimes dangerous and you are responsible for taking that risk. However, that doesn't mean another player or coach or referee cannot be held liable if you are seriously injured.
The standard in personal injury cases is negligence - if someone's negligence causes injury, they are liable. This is still the rule in non-contact sports. An example of a non-contact sport is tennis. If you were injured during a tennis match, then you would sue under a negligence theory - i.e. the player or coach was negligent in some way that caused your injury.
However, with contact sports, there is the contact sports exception (also known as the contact sports doctrine), which states that a person is only liable if their actions were intentional or willful and wanton. Contact sports include soccer, baseball and basketball. If physical contact is an expected part of the sport, then it qualifies as a contact sport. If you were injured while playing a contact sport and you believe that the injury was caused by another player's intentional actions, you would sue under the contact sports exception.
Proving it was intentional or willful or wanton
Proving that the defendant acted intentionally or recklessly will depend on the facts and other factors such as whether the action is what is acceptable or routine in that particular sport. For example, brushing into a player as they slide into home base is typical but tripping the player is not. The facts of your case and the range of normal activity in the particular sport you were playing will be used to prove intent.
Was it a full contact sport?
Full contact sports are another exception all their own. For these sports, the standard is intentional or completely beyond normal activity for that particular sport. Full contact sports include football, hockey and boxing, where physical contact is actually an element of the game. So, if you were seriously injured during a football game, you would have to prove that the defendant's actions were intentional or that the defendant's actions went completely beyond what is acceptable in that particular sport.
Was it caused by a non-participant?
It is believed that holding non-participants like a coach or a referee accountable for negligence would negatively affect the sport as a whole. Still, the standard is that these non-participants owe a duty to not harm others. Coaches are expected to provide instruction on safety and referees are expected to stop a game when they see a violation. If you believe a coach failed to provide safe instructions or if you believe a referee allowed a violation to continue that led to your injury, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Again, it will depend on the facts of the case and the expectations of the particular sport.
Was your child hurt playing a sport?
If your child was injured while playing a sport at school or at another facility, the school, team, coach or facility may liable depending on the circumstances. If the playing field or area was not properly maintained, it could be a negligence issue. If, as noted above, the players were not properly supervised or the referees were not calling violations or another player intentionally harmed your child, you could have a case based on the above noted law. Either way, you should speak to an attorney as soon after your child receives medical attention.
Finding the right sports injury attorney
As with all areas of law, there are time limits to filing your case. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible to review your options.
This is certainly a niche area of the law and that is why it is important that you hire an attorney who knows it well and has successfully handled these types of cases. Call us. We know attorneys in your area who practice this type of law and we will be able to recommend the right attorney for your case.

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Sports Lawyers

Once upon a time, the most important aspect of sporting competition was winning; during the Ancient Greek Olympic Games, people would fight and people would die in pursuit of victory. A couple of hundred years ago, when mediocrity reigned supreme, taking part became the most important part of sport; losing was to be done gracefully and winning was to be magnanimously. Nowadays, with everything from fan club membership to players' salaries in the tens of millions, sport is a very different world from anything we have known before. In this new sporting world, it is neither the winning, nor the taking part that is most important; it's making a living that really counts.
Now we have entered the era of professional sports, people literally play sports for a living. Although winning might very well bolster their pay checks, nothing is more important to these people than being able to continue playing their sport day in and day out. After all, if they get injured and can't play, they're out of a job. For lots of professional sportspeople, for whom sport has made up the majority of their working lives, this can be devastating.
What's more, as talented as many sports people are, the simple truth behind professional sports is that it's not the skill of the players that keeps the money coming in; it's the advertising and merchandising opportunities that spectator sports offer which brings in the real money. Ticketing, branding, broadcasting and advertising are all major earners in the sporting world, just as they are in the business world. It's surprising then that many sportspeople don't realise how important it is to make sure all these elements are handled by a professional sports lawyer.
In exactly the same way you wouldn't put a lawyer on a football pitch and hope to win the World Cup, you shouldn't expect a footballer to handle the intricacies of sports law, contract rights and personal injury claims. Nowadays, with billions of pounds invested in sports, making money is the true name of the game and people will do anything to get one over on each other. The sorry truth for the players, therefore, is that it doesn't matter how passionate they are about their sport if they don't have the legal support required to handle the ever-more complicated world of professional sports.
Everybody from major celebrity sports personalities to small club players can very easily find themselves on the wrong side of a legal battle. Whether it's the rights to a multi-million pound advertising campaign, or seeking compensation for an unfair challenge that has left them unable to work, there is no longer anything simple about making a claim in a sporting context. These days, even the third referee isn't enough to ensure a fair call; with so many livelihoods at stake, professional sport has become the setting for some complicated and high profile legal cases.
Luckily, the legal world has kept up with the ever-changing sporting environment and sports law is now a whole area of expertise in its own right. For this reason, there really is no alternative than to seek out a qualified sports lawyer if you ever run into problems of a sporting nature. From injuries to commercial disputes, legal representation is a necessity if justice is to be served.

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How To Get A Good Sports Lawyer

Getting a competent and aggressive sports lawyer is important for you to reap maximum benefits of your talents or help your club advance with vigor. Make sure that the attorney is fully conversant with all aspects of sports laws in your practicing state, nationally and internationally to be able to represent you adequately. The worst time to look for the practitioner is when you need one because you will tend to rush to the nearest who might actually not be the best. Find a good attorney and remain prepared when you need him.
Conduct some background check first, to know how the attorney has been offering his services and for what period of time. Insist on seeing some of his previous works to assess his effectiveness. Reach to some of his past and present clients to find out how he offers his services and whether they are satisfied with how he handles them.
Insist on visiting his office to check on its organization. A good attorney should be able to depict smartness from both his personal appearance and office setting. While in the office, check for empty desks, sad staff, dirty surfaces and unanswered phone calls which could be indications of irresponsibility. Gather adequate information about his practice, successes and challenges.
Establish the type of staff that your attorney works with. Because you demand the best quality services from your attorney, make sure you are also given the staff qualifications to confirm they are equally competent. For example, the support staff should have strong legal background to work with you.
Move a step higher by checking the local sports law directory to establish the profile information of the practitioner in the region. This is a great chance for noting ratings of his legal work. Check whether information gotten from his office corresponds to what the directory indicates.
To know people and their personalities, it is important to ask others who work closely with them. Therefore, seek information from others that work closely with the attorney you intend to hire. Major information that might have escaped being put in the directory can be revealed at this point. For example, while the directory will just inform you of major characteristics, close friends will tell you about his personality. Remain objective to avoid being taken advantage of by friends who want to win you.
Ensure you discuss the cost of your services with the attorney to ensure you get the best value for money. Though you should not go for the lowest because offered services could equally be poorer, ensure to get the best in line with the prevailing market price. Do not forget to also agree on the method of payment that fits both of you.
Determine the method your sports lawyer uses to communicate to his clients. Insist that once you contract him, you would require frequent updates on all the issues relating to your sports. For example, if he is working out on a compensation plan for you by your local club, he should update you frequently on the progress.

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