Filing A Personal Injury Claim After a Sports-Related Head Injury

Sports are recreational or professional activities for thousands of Americans. It helps keep people fit and gives them a chance to pursue their professional sports dreams.

Unfortunately, participating in sports comes with the risk of injury. There are around 3.8 million sports-related concussions in the U.S. annually. This is not counting the 50% of concussions that go unreported.

In 2022, emergency rooms throughout the country treated 3.6 million people for sports-related injuries. Furthermore, over 300,000 personal injury claims are filed every year, with some of these claims focusing on sports injuries.

If you sustain a sports-related head injury, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim of your own. Here is what you need to know about this process.

Understanding Head Injuries in Sports

Playing any type of sport leaves the head and neck vulnerable to injury. Whether you play football, soccer, basketball, or baseball, impacts to your head can cause a concussion or contusion.

Even worse, these impacts can lead to severe, long-term health problems. The primary symptoms of a serious head injury, including concussion, include headaches, dizziness, vomiting, and confusion. You may experience memory lapses and find it difficult to keep your balance. You may even find your mood dipping and lifting for no reason and experience sensitivity to light or sound.

Seeking Medical Attention After a Head Injury

If there is a hard impact to your head while playing sports and you experience any of the above symptoms, getting medical treatment immediately is crucial.

A doctor can assess and diagnose your injury and determine the severity. They will treat you in the ER and provide an extended course of treatment. If your injury is severe, you may be admitted for further tests and treatment. You must get an early diagnosis and medical care to ensure a full recovery.

When to Consider a Personal Injury Claim

You will also need a medical report if you want to file a personal injury claim. While not every sports injury warrants a claim, you might have a case if the following circumstances apply to you:

  • Negligence: If you can prove that a third party’s negligence caused your injury, you have the right to file a personal injury claim. For instance, a coach may have neglected to implement proper tackling techniques, or a referee may constantly ignore dangerous fouls. If you were injured as a result, you can prove negligence for your personal injury claim.
  • Severe injury: If you sustain a serious injury, it will impact the viability of your claim. Minor concussions that resolve in a week will not give you enough grounds for a claim. However, if your head injury causes chronic headaches, cognitive impairment, or mental distress, you have a strong case.
  • Extensive expenses: If your injury results in several medical bills and rehabilitation costs, it could lead to financial hardship. In this instance, you can and should file a personal injury claim. Filing a claim is especially important if you cannot work due to your injury.

Sports-Related Head Injuries That Warrant a Personal Injury Claim

Several types of head injuries may warrant a personal injury claim. This includes moderate to severe concussions. These injuries typically cause long-lasting symptoms and extensive medical care.

Other sports-related head injuries that can result in a personal injury claim include skull fractures or breaks. You may suffer a hairline crack or severe break requiring surgery. These head injuries often lead to long-term complications as well, requiring ongoing treatment.

You may also experience bleeding within the skull, which can happen with a hard blow against the head. This bleeding, known as an intracranial hemorrhage, is a medical emergency that can become life-threatening.

High-impact sports can also cause subdural hematomas, which refer to bleeding between the brain and dura mater. This leads to several symptoms and possible complications requiring immediate medical attention.

How to Proceed With a Personal Injury Claim After a Head Injury

If you want to proceed with a personal injury claim after sustaining a head injury, you should follow these steps:

  • Get the evidence together: You must prove that negligence caused your injury, so gather medical records confirming this. Your medical records will detail your injury, cause of injury, diagnosis, and treatment plan. Keep all the medical bills related to your injury.

You must also note all the information about the incident that caused your injury. You can do this by taking photographs of the surroundings (if negligence is evident) or taking witness statements.

  • Hire a Personal Injury Attorney: Hiring a lawyer who specializes in sports injuries will prove vital in this situation. Your lawyer can evaluate your case and advise you on how to proceed. Your lawyer will also ensure that you prioritize your health while they fight your case on your behalf.

Factors to Consider When Filing a Personal Injury Claim

Filing a personal injury claim and hiring a lawyer does not guarantee success. Every case is different with several other factors to consider. These include the following:

  • Statute of Limitations: Every state has its own statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This means you have a specific window in which to do so. If you miss the deadline, you can no longer claim compensation. Your lawyer will inform you about the statute of limitations in your state.
  • Assumption of risk: As mentioned earlier, playing sports comes with risks, and some of these risks are unavoidable. The court will consider your acceptance of these risks when they evaluate your claim.
  • Shared fault: If it is clear that you had a part in sustaining the injury, for example, not wearing the proper equipment, you may get a substantially lesser compensation amount.

Beyond the physical pain and complications, a head injury can severely impact your mental health and emotional state. With brain trauma comes personality changes, anxiety, and even depression. If you can prove that your injury happened solely due to the negligence of a third party, you can also claim for these non-economic damages.

Personal Injury Claims Remain Complex

Filing a personal injury claim is never going to be an easy process. It is up to you to decide whether you want to go through this process and whether the compensation is worth the effort. It is always best to speak to a lawyer about your options and your odds. This way, you can make better decisions and get a better outcome.

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