Sports InjuriesAs an Accident and Injury Law Firm, the attorneys with McCutcheon and Hamner get alot of questions about sports related injuries to minor children. Often these sports injuries occur at a school or during a school sponsored event. Occasionally, we will see a child or teenage athelete injured pretty badly and often as the result of a flagarant foul committed by an opposing player. Outraged parents want to sue someone and ask us about lawsuits arising out of sports injuries.
Schools, school officals, teachers, coaches and school boards are all protected by the concept of sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity is a concept that comes to us from English common law when the kings and queens of England were thought to have been anointed by God. They were deemed imune from the courts of justice here on earth as they were beyond its earthly influence. Governments still retain sovereign immunity especially as it protects the governmental pocketbook.
Generally speaking, governmental immunity or sovereign immunity applies to employees of a governmental agency in about the performance of their duties. Obviously if they are not at work, but merely citizens violating traffic regulations and injuring someone, they are not immune.
An intentional injury by an opposing player could be the basis of both a criminal and civil penalty. This does occasionally occur. the problem with a civil lawsuit against a minor for injuring someone in a sporting event is that minors have no money and you cannot insure against an intentional act. If you intend to hurt someone and do, there is no insurance coverage to protect you.
The only cases that have been truly successful are those unfortunate cases where there is a failure of equipment such as a football helmet that is designed to protect against injury and injury occurs. Those cases have been successfully litigated as product liability cases.