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Thursday, 18 May 2017 00:00

Can you sue another player if your child is hurt during a game?

Written by Jonathan Druckman

NJ Courts say “No” in a recent case.

This claim arises out of an accident that occurred during a youth recreational lacrosse game. A Medford player suffered serious injuries to his left arm, requiring surgery after a Marlton player aggressively knocked him over during a game. The injured child was approximately 5 feet tall and weighed 76 pounds, and his opponent was 2-4 inches taller and 14 pounds heavier.

This was the first time that such a case had been brought in NJ Court regarding tort liability of a minor who inflicts injury upon another while they are participating in a youth sports activity. In examining other jurisdictions that had addressed the issue before, the NJ Court came up with a 2 level analysis.

  1. Whether the opposing player’s injurious conduct would be actionable if it were committed by an adult, evaluating whether there is sufficient proof of the defendant player’s intent to inflict bodily injury or recklessness AND
  1. Whether it would be reasonable in the particular youth sport setting to expect a minor of the same age and characteristics as the defendant to refrain from the injurious physical contact

This 2-step analysis set forth by the court means that each case will be fact specific.

Here, the plaintiff’s case was dismissed by the Court, which found that since no reasonable jury could have found the facts of this particular case here rising to a level of recklessness that would make this 11-year-old liable for his action on the field. The Court held, that although his injury is regrettable, it is one of those unfortunate occasional consequences of minors playing in a rough-and-tumble sport.

While, the plaintiff ultimately lost in this case, the test set forth by the court in NJ has indicated that each case will be fact specific. If you have been injured in a sporting event, or just wish to speak with an attorney regarding another injury, you can call the Law Office of Druckman & Hernandez at 908-353-5850.  We don’t charge a fee unless we recover money for you.

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