Spotlight on Sports Injury Claims: Hurt Playing a Sport – Can I Sue?

Young basketball player experiencing pain while injuring his leg during the match.

Whether as a child or as an adult, mostly everyone has played a sport at one time in their life. For some people, sports are a big part of their life. While participating in sports, all players assume risk in participating and getting injured. Some sports are prone to injuries given their physicality. However, some less physical sports can also lead to injury.

In this blog post, I explain the difference between sport injuries that may result in compensation, and those that likely will not.

Risk of Sports Injuries

If the injury results from an obvious assumed risk (part of playing the sport), then there would be no liability on the injuring party, the facility, or coach.

Most liability for injuries occurs through the negligence of another party and are unintentional. If the injury is part of the regular act of the game being played, you will not be entitled to any compensation. If however this line is crossed, then a claim against the individual can be pursued and if they have insurance it would be covered.

Sports Injury Insurance: Check Your Home Insurance Policy

Individuals don’t have sport injury insurance per se, but general home insurance and umbrella policies do cover injuries that occur while involved in an activity such as a sport, unless specifically excluded by the policy.

If you are injured while playing a sport, insurance will not cover intentional acts that lead to an injury. However, some intentional acts may still be covered where the injury itself was not expected or intended.

Proving Liability and Who To Sue

For the individual to be held liable for a sports injury, the injured party needs to show that the injuring party failed to use reasonable care, or was unreasonable in their behaviour. This could be shown against the injuring party, but also as against the facility, league, or even coaches. There needs to be adequate instructions and training provided with respect to the rules of the sports. Proper protective equipment must be worn. There must be proper supervision by the coaches at all times. The athletes must be well matched against the other team.

There is no end of possibilities as to how another party might be responsible. For example, the facility must provide safe playing areas suitable for the actual activity in question. Rules must be followed and enforced. Once an injury occurs proper treatment must be given to assist the injured party.

What To Do If You Do Get Hurt Playing a Sport?

Suing for compensation as a result of an injury one sustains while playing a sport is no easy matter. Often, an expert in the area will need to be retained to determine what the appropriate standard of care is for the sport or activity, and to make a determination as to whatever or not that standard of care was breached. That in and of itself does not prove negligence because each side has their own version of events. So if you are injured while participating in a sport or activity, you should not assume you do or for that matter do not have a claim, but rather obtain legal advice. You should do so as soon as possible because there may be some urgency to gathering evidence to ensure that it does not become altered or disappear.

We at Howie, Sacks & Henry have decades of experience in handling all manner of personal injury claims, including sports injuries. If you have been injured while playing a sport, or in any activity, please contact me by calling (416-361-0889) or e-mail me at I would be happy to answer all of your questions.

Personal injury lawyer, Michael Henry is a Founding Partner of Howie, Sacks & Henry. Mike’s practice focuses on exclusively on personal injury law and includes the areas of: Motor Vehicle Accidents; Car Accident Benefits Insurance Claims; Slip and Fall Claims; Long-Term and Short-Term Disability Claims; and, other facets of personal injury litigation, such as recreation/sports injury claims, motorcycle accidents, boating accidents and wrongful dismissal matters. Mike is ranked by his peers in Best Lawyers, and as a Certified Specialist by the Law Society.

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