Millions of children and teenagers across the United States, from elementary school through high school, play school-sponsored sports and activities. A vast number of these students are treated each year for injuries caused by their participation in these physical activities. While a majority of sports-related injuries are minor and are treated in outpatient facilities, if they require any medical attention at all, there are also instances where injuries are more serious and even life threatening, and thereby require emergency and sometimes long-term medical care.
For parents of student athletes, especially those whose children play aggressive contact sports, such as hockey, rugby, football, soccer, and even acrobatic sports like gymnastics and cheerleading or non-contact sports like swimming, safety is a real concern, especially given the high instance of traumatic brain in juries, concussions, and broken bones. When a student athlete is injured during a game or practice, not only do concerns circle around whether the student is/will be okay, but also who is financially responsible for covering any medical care needed to treat an injury.
According to statistics compiled by Lawyers.com from Safe Kids USA and the American Academy of Pediatrics,
- Each year, more than 3.5 million children ages 14 years and under receive medical treatment for sports injuries. More than 30 million children participate in sports each year
- 62% of organized sports-related injuries happen during practice rather than during games
- Collision and contact sports, like football and rugby, have higher injury rates, but injuries from individual sports, such as gymnastics and swimming, are usually more severe
- About 33% of parents don’t take the same safety precautions during their child’s practice as they do for a game, and there are statistics showing that schools and coaches take practices less seriously than games when it comes to injuries
Who Foots the Bill(s)?
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the law requires every resident and his/her family to carry health insurance. And generally speaking, health and medical insurance will cover a child’s medical care and treatment should he/she be injured. But depending on individual coverage, deductibles, co-pays and/or limited coverage the amount spent out of pocket medical care can be astronomical., especially if long-term care or physical therapy is required.
In some cases, the school or sports organization carries insurance that will help to reduce costs for families. Some families of injured student athletes opt to sue the organization if they can prove that the athletic association was knowingly negligent and did not take proper precautions to ensure the safety of their child. In some cases, third party lawsuits can be filed against a products manufacturer if protective equipment, such as a helmet, was damaged or defective.
What Can I Do As a Parent to Protect My Child?
According to Lawyers.com, if you’re child is playing sports or competing in a physical activity or is considering either, you should:
- Find out the injury statistics for the sport. Check with Safe Kids USA, the AAP, your family doctor, and your child’s coach for more information
- Ask your insurance agent if sports-related activities are covered by your medical and health insurance, and ask specifically if your child’s sport is covered.
- Ask the officials at the school district or athletic association if they carry insurance that will pay if your child is injured.
- Make sure your child has the proper safety equipment and gear. If it’s not provided by the school or club, buy it for him/her. And make she uses it at games and practice!
- Ask if the coaches and staff are trained in emergency first aid and CPR. (Lawyers.com)
When To Speak to An Attorney
In some cases, schools or organizations may ask parents to sign a waiver, which relinquishes the right for parents to potentially sue an organization based on the assumption and acknowledgement of risk for injury. Those who already have a family attorney may find it helpful to consult with their legal professional.
If your child was seriously injured in a sports-related incident and you are concerned with what your next step should be after he/she receives the proper medical care, it may be within your best interest to consult with a legal professional skilled in personal injury claims. While sports-related injuries are usually covered by personal medical insurance, there are cases where medical expenses can be the responsibility of a school or extracurricular organization.
At the law offices of Altman & Altman, our team of seasoned personal injury attorneys has 50 years of experience handling all types of personal injury cases and are steadfast in helping clients receive the financial compensation they are entitled to. If you have questions about a personal injury, call our office today to set up an appointment with one of our esteemed lawyers. We are available around the clock to assist you with any questions you have related to your case, and all consultations are completely free and confidential.
Original article here.