As an experienced injury lawyer, you often demonstrate how smart you are by the cases you DO NOT take – as much so as by those cases that you DO take.

While I certainly don’t mind a challenging case (and I have taken many over the years!), there are certain types of cases where the law is so stacked against you that you just have to know when to say NO.

Sad to say, school sports injury cases are an example of the type of case that is virtually impossible to win.


Well, the law is stacked against you in many respects.  First, there is a defense known as the “assumption of the risk doctrine.” Basically, this doctrine contends that people who are voluntarily engaging in a sport, assume the risk of the types of injuries that are inherent in that sport, and therefore they cannot recover for those injuries.

For example, if you are a pitcher on a baseball team, you assume the risk that a batter might hit a ball that hits you in the mouth. Likewise, if you are a baseball spectator, you assume the risk that a foul ball might hit you. On both of these scenarios, there are tons of NY cases that have been dismissed by the court because of the assumption of risk doctrine.

Two great blog posts, “Assumption of Risk Doctrine Bars New York Sports Injury Lawsuits – Part 1” and “Assumption of Risk Doctrine Bars New York Sports Injury Lawsuits – Part 2 (Baseball)”, by NYC attorney John Hochfelder explain the assumption of the risk doctrine as it applies to many sports:  baseball, floor hockey, wrestling and soccer.

With all of that said, there ARE some types of sports injuries cases that MAY be a possible case despite the assumption of the risk doctrine.

These cases usually involve an injury that is NOT inherent in the nature of the sport or a hazard of a type that is generally not assumed in that particular sport. For instance, if there’s a metal spike sticking up out of the ground in the base path to second base and a school knew about that hazard and failed to take any steps to remedy that condition, that might give rise to liability against the school.

The bottom line is that it is VERY difficult to decide if you have a good case or not and therefore it is usually best that you consult with an experienced injury lawyer to determine if you have a case or not.

If you want to e-mail me the details of your case at, I am happy to let you know what I think.

Thanks for reading,

James B. Reed
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
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