Assumed Risk and Sports Liability

Assumed Risk and Sports Liability

Playing competitive sports is one of the great joys of life. There’s simply nothing better than waking up to the smell of the grass and suiting up for some healthy competition. However, as a sports player or coach, you’re aware of injuries happening all the time on the playing field. However, are you aware of how you’re covered by insurance should an incident occur?

In this article, we’ll cover some of the aspects of sports that can help shed some light on this seldom-discussed topic.


Injuries for Amateur Sports?

 If you’re injured while playing sports, would you be able to hold the person who tackled you on the gridiron liable for that fractured wrist? The answer is most likely not. Why? Because of assumption of risk.

Assumption of Risk

For sports players, the assumption of risk is as exactly as it sounds. By participating in potentially injurious activities, you are assuming that there’s a risk that you will get hurt, therefore waiving your right to hold anyone (participants, property owners, etc.) liable related to the sport.

Because injuries are common among athletes, the law very rarely offers the injured party any recourse. However, there are a few scenarios that trigger the legal liability of another participant in the sport (or the liability of a third party).

If you manage to get a chronic case of tennis elbow or get a concussion playing pick-up games of rugby, you probably won’t be able to hold anyone liability for your injuries. That is, however, if the injury didn’t result from unreasonable behavior.

Unreasonable Behavior

While you’re not likely to get in trouble for trash talking on the court,  what happens if things escalate and a player turns unnecessarily violent? If an injury results from aggressive behavior, assumption of risk wouldn’t come into play (pun intended)—instead, you may be able to bring an intentional tort lawsuit against the person who caused an injury to you or your family from their unreasonable behavior.


Equipment Failure

Related to sports is the equipment that’s used during game-play and practice. If an injury was made worse by the equipment’s malfunction or was proven to be defective, a product liability lawsuit and/or claim may be brought against the manufacturer. However, there is a grey-area for who is liable if, for example, the equipment was a defective batting cage—items requiring maintenance change who is ultimately at-fault.

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Participating in sports, however, is a much wider topic that will be covered in subsequent posts. What policies can be purchased? How can players, coaches, and property owners insulate themselves from third-party liability claims? That’s where an insurance advisor at RiskBlock can help determine what policy can help protect you, your family, and your assets.


Author: Liam Dai
Lead Insurance Advisor for RiskBlock. Disclaimer: This Blog/Web Site is made available by the author or insurance agency for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the insurance coverage, not to provide specific insurance advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no professional advice and professional client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for professional advice from a licensed professional insurance agent in your state. All scenarios are different and unique to the situation.