Those Engaged in Recreational Sport Could Be Out of Luck If Injured
Florida boasts some of the country’s most beautiful weather and Floridians can enjoy it during most of the year. Because of the sunshine and warm climate, many companies or employees of such companies will organize and promote recreational sporting competitions between co-workers. Such activities often take the form of softball, basketball, or volleyball games that are typically held at an off-site location. They can provide employees a way to decompress and adds a social element to the interactions that workers have with each other. But most employees who participate in these activates do not realize that it is possible that they could be waiving their ability to sue and recover damages for injuries suffered during a recreational sporting event simply by playing through a legal doctrine called “assumption of the risk”.
Assumption of the Risk
As humans, most people have a little voice inside their head that peeps up when they are about to do something that could be dangerous that says “I don’t know if I should do this. It could be dangerous.” This sixth sense essentially makes up the legal concept of assumption of the risk. Under this doctrine, the law will take into consideration the fact that a person was able to appreciate the fact that they may be injured because of potentially dangerous circumstances before they were injured by the those same circumstances.
For instance, if a professional baseball pitcher were to be struck in the head immediately following the throwing of a pitch by a batted ball, he would likely be unable to recover for his injuries. The player that hit the ball likely didn’t intend to direct the hit toward the head of the pitcher, but more importantly, by pitching in a sporting event and placing yourself only a short distance away from a batter that will hit the ball at a high rate of speed, the pitcher has “assumed the risk” that he could be injured under those circumstances.
Less obvious examples can also help illustrate the concept of assumption of the risk. Imagine that a recreational hockey player sustained injuries because she tripped on a stick that was negligently dropped on the ice during a previous play. Although the action of leaving a loose stick on the ice for another player to potentially trip on could be negligent behavior, those engaged in playing hockey are typically aware that there could be loose objects on the ice and that they should be avoided. Because of the injured player’s own knowledge of the risk, she may be limited in the recovery of her damages.
Florida Plaintiffs Can Be Limited By Comparative Negligence
Under Florida law, the doctrine of “comparative negligence” subsumes assumption of the risk, but the concept remains the same. If an injured party’s poor judgment or their own negligence played a part in their injury, they will not be able to recover the full amount of damages that they incurred.
Although many recreational sporting leagues will require the signing of a waiver or other such release of liability, a potential participant should ensure that he or she has assessed the risks of the activity for him or herself. All of the above being said, if you were injured in a sporting accident, you still may have a completely legally viable claim to recover for your damages. Each injury carries with it a whole new set of facts and circumstances that could drastically change the way that an attorney, and ultimately a court, determines the outcome of a particular situation. If you or someone you love was injured while engaged in a recreational sporting activity, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The skilled professionals at the Tallahassee law firm of Barrett, Fasig & Brooks have decades of experience getting injured clients just like you what they deserve. Give us a call today to set up your free initial consultation at (866) 346-4186 or (850) 224-3310.