Sports Injuries in Ontario: What Are My Rights?
During 2016 and 2017, nearly 18,000 Canadians were hospitalized after suffering a sports injury, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).
Because of that rather unique treatment of sports injuries, it is all the more important that injured Ontarians consult a personal injury lawyer to understand their rights following a sports injury.
Top 5 Sports Activities That Lead to Hospital Visits
According to the CIHI report, common sports activities that lead to inuries requiring hospitalization include:
Legal Rights Following a Sports Injury
In ordinary, everyday life, Ontario law defines a battery as an intentionally harmful or offensive contact with someone—such as a shove or a punch. Likewise, a person who negligently causes another person injury through contact (such as by colliding with him or her) can be held liable.
But in many sports, such contacts, intentional or otherwise, are part of the game. The law recognizes this distinction between everyday activities and sports activities through the concept of implied consent. A person implicitly consents to the types of injury risks inherent in a sport, and so cannot hold another person liable for injuries arising out of such risks.
Note that implied consent only applies to the risks inherent in a sport, meaning that a court’s analysis of the scope of consent is flexible, taking into account the rules and physical requirements of each sport.
In hockey or basketball, for example, players have to assume some risk of injury from bodily contact, even contact intentionally inflicted or in breach of the rules of the game. Conduct in these contact sports becomes unacceptable only when it is malicious, out of the ordinary or beyond the bounds of fair play.
Waiver in Ontario Sports Injuries
If an injury is not covered by implied consent, it may nevertheless be covered by an effective waiver, making it impossible to successfully sue for compensation. Organizations that put on sporting events, as well as the owners of venues where such events take place, generally require participants to sign a waiver before they can participate.
A waiver is a contract that says you agree to give up the right to hold any person responsible if you become injured while participating in an organized sporting event. We’ve discussed waivers before, because Ontario gyms also rely on them to avoid liability under the Ontario Occupiers’ Liability Act.
As in that context, sports waivers must meet certain minimum requirements to be effective. In particular, the wording of the waiver must be specific as to what risks and dangers are covered by it. Any ambiguity in the language is interpreted against the party relying on the waiver.
Injured While Playing Sports in Ontario?
Personal injury claims in Ontario are always a bit complicated, but when an injury occurred during sport, seeking compensation becomes even more complicated.
To learn about options for financial recovery that might be available to you after sustaining a sports injury, call Preszler Injury Lawyers today and receive a free initial consultation. Call 1-800-JUSTICE today.