Our children are more active than ever, especially with sports in school and out. Athletes as young as seven-years old are participating in organized activities with an estimated 25 million scholastic athletes and another 20 million kids in organized community sports programs.

Sports injuries are the second leading cause of emergency room visits for children and adolescents, and the second leading cause of injuries in school, according to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Approximately three million youngsters are seen in hospital emergency rooms for sports-related injuries. Another five million are seen by their primary care physician or a sports medicine clinic for their injuries.

When your child is injured playing an organized activity like a sport, who can you turn to pick up the pieces? If your child has insurance coverage, through either a policy of their own or through their parents’ policies, most costs for treatment and follow-up care will be covered, up to the policy limits. Any overages or co-pays are the responsibility of the family. That’s where out-of-pocket costs can become substantive. A “third-party” claim, made by the injured and claimed against the insurance policy of the organization or business that is responsible for the injury, is another avenue of redress.

This is why it is important to at least consult with a qualified personal injury lawyer to discuss any open options for compensation. Remember, the insurance companies are not on your side. They will attempt to limit their payouts to the injured in every way. Most often, an insurance settlement will cover outstanding medical expenses, but will not cover the pain and suffering endured, the loss of activity, and the long-term implications of a sports-related injury. A third-party insurance claim might include a general damages settlement that covers these kinds of losses, but it probably will be for a nominal amount only.

Consulting with a personal injury lawyer is a clear indication to the interested parties that the injured is informed and at least capable of filing a lawsuit to claim damages. A lawyer will help the injured determine who caused or played a part in the injury of a child during sports, what legal paperwork needs to be filed, and what redress is available to them. The claimant will need to demonstrate exactly how the defendant (the party being sued) was negligent in connection with your child’s injuries. What exactly did the person or organization do or fail to do, and how did that misstep play a part in the accident? For example, depending on the facts of the case, you might allege that your child’s injuries were caused by one or more factors such as:

  • inadequate supervision
  • faulty or unsafe sports equipment (including inadequate safety equipment like helmets and pads)
  • improperly trained employees
  • poorly maintained facilities (a slippery court, a field riddled with gopher holes)
  • insufficient on-site emergency medical care

No one wants to go through the legal landscape of determining who is responsible if their child is injured while participating in sports. A knowledgeable, experienced, and qualified personal injury lawyer is a valuable partner when a child is recovering from a sports-related injury.