Sports & Recreational Injuries

Sports & Recreational Injuries Caused by Someone Else’s Negligence

Many participants take part in amateur recreational sports in Canada every year. The number of children and adults who participate in these sporting events keeps growing. However, according to our personal injury lawyer in Halifax, most of the participants seem to assume the inevitable sports-related injuries.

In this guide, we will explain the legal rights of those who’ve been left nursing injuries after participating in sports, due to negligence, either intentionally or unintentionally.

Sports & Recreation Negligence Cases

Negligence occurs when a person’s actions or behavior fall below the required standard of care. But how is the standard of care determined? Well, even the courts have a difficult time trying to define the limits of implied consent. However, the courts will distinguish the normal and expected physical contact from actions that are unjustified, intentional, or unreasonably damaging.

The standard of behavior is normally determined by what an average person is expected to reasonably do or not do, in such a situation. In physical sports, it is recognized that there is implied consent to the normal contact and collisions related to the game, including any contact that violates the sport’s rules.

Injuries in Sports With & Without Intent

An injury in sports is considered intentional if a person intended the consequences of their conduct or if the person knew with substantial certainty that the injury would occur as a result of his conduct. A good example is the case of Agar v. Canning (1965) which held that a participant has a right of recovery against another participant who causes injury deliberately.

However, there should be a limit on a participant’s immunity from liability. According to our personal injury lawyer in Halifax, injuries may be caused by a participant in situations that show a definite resolve to cause serious injury to an opponent. Whether it occurred in the heat of the game or due to provocation, it does not fall within the scope of implied consent.

In some cases, injuries may be caused unintentionally but still fall below the standards of behavior. For example, where a participant would have considered their speed, whether the body contact was legal, the risks, or the stresses in the sport. A player should not only act within the spirit of the game but also according to the standards of fair play. Sometimes a player may be injured during a game, but the injury occurred as a result of an action that fell outside of what a reasonable participant would expect in such a situation.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice very recently followed the analysis in Unruh in Casterton v. MacIsaac, 2019 ONSC 190 and agreed that while a participant implicitly agrees to some risk of injury inherent to a fast-moving or even physically violent sport, his implicit consent is not unlimited. A participant should not accept the risk of injury as a result of an action that is out of the ordinary, malicious, or beyond the limits of fair play.

In the analysis in Unruh, the court had to determine whether the incident was intentional or unintentional. If the conduct was not deliberate, then it was either out of the ordinary or maybe outside the bounds of fair play. If the court determined that the incident was intentional, then the defense that the plaintiff implicitly agreed to the risk of his injury would have been rejected.

The court considered the nature of the game, the applicable rules, the level of play in the league, and the type of league in which the game was played. It was finally decided by the court that the defendant failed to meet the appropriate standard of care required in a non-contact league. As a result, he intentionally or unintentionally delivered a blindsided hit. The damages were awarded to the plaintiff.

Bottom Line

Have you or your loved one, especially a child, experienced sports-related injuries whether recreational, amateur or professional sport and you suspect the person who is responsible did so due to negligence? Well, we invite you to contact our team for legal assistance.



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