Legally reviewed by:
King Law
October 5, 2023

Participation in school sports teams is highly recommended for students’ physical fitness, teamwork skills, and personal growth. However, although many benefits come with participating in a school sports team, there are also possible negatives such as the risk of injury. School sports injuries come with questions about liability and potential avenues for recovery. This blog will explore the legal landscape surrounding sports injuries in North Carolina schools and the options available for seeking compensation for such injuries.

I think we all know and or can recognize that engaging in sports can come with inherent risk. In North Carolina, the legal concept of “assumption of risk” applies to sports injuries. What does that mean? “Assumption of risk” means that participants acknowledge and accept the potential dangers associated with a particular activity.

While “assumption of risk” plays a significant role in recovery, it does not absolve schools from their duty to provide a safe environment for students. All schools have a legal obligation to exercise reasonable care in managing sports activities and preventing unnecessary hazards. This duty includes ensuring proper coaching, appropriate equipment, safe facilities, and adherence to relevant rules and regulations.

In some instances, a student’s sports injury may not be solely attributable to inherent risk but rather due to someone’s negligence. What is negligence? Negligence refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care resulting in harm to others. If it is found that the school or its staff’s actions or omissions are deemed negligent and have directly contributed to the injury, the injured student may have grounds for pursuing a personal injury claim.

Did you sign a waiver before participating in the sports activity? Many schools require that students and their parents or guardians sign a liability waiver before participation. These waivers seek to limit the schools’ liability in case of injury. However, not all waivers are enforceable in North Carolina. Courts will carefully scrutinize the waiver’s language, and they may not be upheld if found to be overly broad, ambiguous, or against public policy.

It is also important to note the concept of Sovereign Immunity. Sovereign immunity shields government entities, including public schools, from certain lawsuits unless specific exceptions apply. However, it does not absolve them entirely from all potential legal actions.

So, can you recover? If a student is injured due to someone’s negligence or because of an improperly drafted liability waiver, there are potential avenues for seeking compensation. In such cases, the injured parties (or their legal guardian, if the student is a minor) may consider the following options:

  1. Filing an Insurance Claim: If the school has insurance coverage for sports-related injuries, the injured party may file a claim to seek compensation for medical expenses and other damages.
  2. Personal Injury Lawsuit: If negligence is established and the injury is severe, the injured party may file a personal injury lawsuit against the school or the responsible party seeking compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages.
  3. Workers’ Compensation: In some cases, if the injury occurred while the student was under the direct employment of the school, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Participating in sports at school can be an enriching experience, but it is not without risks. Understanding the legal landscape surrounding sports injuries in North Carolina schools is essential for both students and educational institutions. While the assumption of risk plays a significant role in these cases, negligence and improperly drafted waivers can open avenues for seeking compensation.

King Law Offices is a full-service law firm with an outstanding team of professionals who work diligently, creatively, and compassionately on behalf of our clients each day. If you have a potential claim or one is being brought against you, contact King Law at 888-748-KING (5464) for a consultation. We have offices located across western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. We are here to serve you and to guide you as we navigate this journey together.

Legally reviewed by:
King Law
Carolina Attorneys
October 5, 2023

This blog post has been reviewed and verified by legal experts at King Law. Our team is dedicated to providing premium legal services with compassion, innovation, trust, and advocacy. Serving Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina, we offer flexible meeting options and strive to exceed client expectations with high-quality legal representation and exceptional client relationships.

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