Unfortunately, the surge in popularity of action sports, such as dirt bike racing and snowboarding, has been followed by an increase in accidents or fatalities due to the dangers involved with these activities.
As a result, extreme sports test the boundaries of the rule. Although extreme athletic activities intend to present such bodily hazards, at any point in time, the government must decide where the blame and liabilities lie. Some typical extreme sports accidents include:
- Broken joints
- Head and leg wounds;
- Spinal wounds;
- Lacerations (cuts that sometimes involve stitches);
- Concussion disabilities; and/or disabilities
- Several other forms of accidents
What are the causes of wrongful sports injuries and deaths?
If someone is hurt in extreme sports, particularly when a corporation or association sponsors an event, there are a few options for legal action.
Negligence: Negligence is the inability of the average citizen to show a reasonable level of caution under comparable situations.
With relation to extreme sports, an accusation of incompetence will undoubtedly reflect on the nature of the course, encouraging too many entrants to participate, or failing to sufficiently notify the entrants of what they are joining.
Assumption of risk: the main barrier to any conventional negligence allegation is mitigation called risk assumption. The claimant would contend that the participant knew and acknowledged the risks but still participated in them voluntarily.
However, the courts will be compelled to examine the wrinkles of this doctrine in so far as the person has understood or may understand the consequences, or whether the organizations behave in a way that goes beyond negligence. If one of these conditions is possible, the risk factor does not apply.
Gross Negligence and Recklessness: Many states vary in their concept of cowardice and gross negligence. Several of them cannot even differentiate between the two. However, regardless of how the State determines the cause of the action, one consistent factor is that the defendant knew or should have learned about the harm, but overlooked it and proceeded to behave dangerously.
Cardiovascular diseases: Cardiovascular conditions responsible for the accidental sudden death of heavily conditioned athletes are primarily linked to the age of the patient. In most young competitive athletes, accidental death is due to idiopathic cardiovascular disease. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy tends to be the most frequent cause of such deaths, responsible for almost half of the premature death of young athletes.
Other Causes: Some structural disorders that seem to be less common but significant causes of sudden mortality in young athletes include congenital aortic valve disorders, ruptured aorta, idiopathic left ventricular and coronary artery atherosclerosis. Diseases that tend to be very rare causes of death include myocarditis, mitral valve prolapse, aortic valve stenosis, and sarcoidosis.
What If I Signed a Waiver?
Traditionally, waivers have been taken before the court. This is true also for non-traditional activities such as snowboarding, dirt bike riding, or water rafting. For eg, when purchasing a ski lift ticket, one will be asked to sign a certificate, warn the athlete that the operation is dangerous and the resort may not be responsible for any injury.
However, the degree to which the waiver will respond to the cases will depend on the particular circumstances in each situation and whether they relate to such serious events is not resolved. Thus, one injured in an obstacle race with rain, heat, and electrical barriers may have many reasons to question the exemption.
Also, the waivers are invalid if they contradict public policies. Simply put, if the waiver relieves the defendant of moral liability if we, as a society, prefer to keep individuals liable, then the court will not impose it.
Should I seek legal counsel on my extreme sports injury?
Participation in athletics can be an immensely satisfying and rewarding experience. Millions of Americans do this every year in several different sports, such as football, basketball, baseball, and soccer. Unfortunately, because of the competitive nature of these events and the physical activity involved, athletic events may often lead to injury and even death.
Sports-related litigation requires different aspects than standard personal injury proceedings, so you must appeal to a lawyer who has substantial expertise consulting on these kinds of cases.
There are several problems and defences usually posed in this litigation, so it only makes sense to employ a lawyer who has worked with these kinds of cases in the past. Will the athlete have any pre-existing illnesses that have led to injuries or death? It is also important to interview other players who experienced the incident and, if possible, to take their written statements.
You will need to assess the expertise of coaches and trainers to have access to the best sports professionals possible.
Courtenay Poulden is leading worker compensation lawyers in Sydney and he is accredited by the Law Society of New South Wales as a Personal Injury Law Specialist. He is one of the contributing authors to the Personal Injury Law Manual in New South Wales, published by the Law Book Company.