I am often consulted about sporting injuries and whether there is the potential for recovery. There are two type of claims that arise in my experience. The one I will focus on is one where someone is injured by another player during a game or practice.
In a sporting injury case, Ontario courts have held that the ordinary negligence standard which is to be applied in determining whether a defendant is liable. Negligence is proven through an analysis of the duty of care owed, the associated standard of care, the defendant’s failure to meet that standard, and a loss to the plaintiff.
The standard of care players owe to each other must be assessed considering the activity itself. The courts recognize that what constitutes reasonable care will depend upon the perils which a person engaged in an activity might reasonably be expected to encounter. For example, in hockey or basketball, players must assume some risk of injury from bodily contact, even contact intentionally inflicted or in breach of the rules of the game. A body check – even one that calls for a penalty – or contact fighting for a rebound in which the opposing player is called for a foul is part of the ordinary risk of each game. Conduct in these contact sports becomes unacceptable only when it is malicious, out of the ordinary or beyond the bounds of fair play.
The case law shows that courts have recognized that there must be flexibility to accommodate the different risks inherent in different sports. Thus, injury sustained during a game does not necessarily translate into a viable claim for damages. The fact surrounding the accident and the type of game played will be critical in the considering the viability of a claim.
If you have been hurt in a sports related matter, please call me to discuss your rights at 647-490-944 ext. 1 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.