Summer is officially over, and soon thousands of New Yorkers will be donning their winter gear and enjoying winter sports like snowboarding, skiing, ice hockey, and football. Many of those who participate in individual and team sports this season may be injured. After a sports injury, one of the first questions you might ask yourself is, “Could this have been prevented?”
Assumption of Risk
All sports carry inherent risks. With ice sports such as skating, curling, and hockey, falls are inevitable. The same is true for skiing and snowboarding. Children playing football can expect to collide with other players, trip and fall, and suffer some minor injuries from overworked muscles. These types of hazards are inherent and expected when participating in any physical activity. Because these risks are well known and expected, participants are considered to assume to risks voluntarily when they engage in the activity.
When children or adults participate in organized team sports or engage in any sport that involves renting equipment or using a commercial facility of any kind, they (or their parents) will almost always be required to sign a waiver that explains the inherent risks of the sport they are about to engage in. Furthermore, this waiver lets them know that they assume these risks voluntarily and explains that the organization providing the equipment or facility, or organizing the activity, is not responsible for any injuries sustained by participants.
Many people assume that, once they have signed a waiver, they are not eligible to sue a rental agency, facility, or team organizer if they are injured. In most cases, that is probably true, but there are circumstances in which these waivers may be voided.
When a school or team organizer fails to take proper precautions to protect players, they may be held responsible for injuries. Some examples of this may include:
- Failure to properly maintain equipment or facilities.
- Inadequate supervision.
- Failure to enforce safety rules, such as rules against bodychecking in hockey, or rules against unnecessary roughness in football.
- Failure to require players to wear proper safety equipment
While the owners of commercial facilities such as ice skating rinks and ski lodges are generally not responsible for the normal injuries one might expect from falls, collisions with other participants, or exposure to cold temperatures, they do owe their patrons a duty of care when it comes to maintaining their facilities and equipment. When an injury is directly related to faulty equipment, such as broken bindings on skis, loose blades on ice skates, or even an unsafe ski lift, the provider of the equipment may be sued for damages.
Most snowmobile accidents, like most car accidents, are caused by distracted driving, excessive speed, and impaired driving. Like other vehicles, snowmobiles can suffer mechanical failures that may lead to accidents. If you are injured in an accident with a snowmobile driven by someone else that was caused by a mechanical problem, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries.
New York Injury Attorneys
If you or a family member have been injured in a winter sport accident, talk to a personal injury expert who can evaluate your case and explore all possible options for compensation. The attorneys at The O’Brien Firm have decades of experience representing injured persons, and will be happy to provide a free consultation. Just call 716-907-777, or visit our website.