Can I file a claim against the middle school football coaches and the local school district for one of the coaches fracturing my son’s collarbone?

My son is 13 year old plays on the middle school football team. One of the coaches put on a helmet and decided he wanted to participate in the kids hitting drills; this led to the coach hitting my son and fracturing his collarbone. I contacted the athletic director and complained about it. He confirmed it did happen but failed to discipline or fire the coaches. Instead he allowed them to coach the final game the very next day. One of the kids on the teamsent me the video he took showing the coach hitting my son and the point of contact that fractured his collarbone. Should I speak with a personal injury attorney? I’m in Macomb County, MI.

Asked on November 3, 2011 under Personal Injury, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It probably is worthwhile contacting a personal injury attorney, or rather it is if either you have had significant unreimbursed medical costs (co-pays, deductibles, anything not covered by insurance) and/or your son has endured significant pain or disability due to the fracture. (i.e. there must be enough loss or injury to justify a lawsuit and make one worthwhile.)

Normally, it is difficult to recover for injuries incurred in games like football, since physical contact and the risk of injury therefrom is part of the game; participants are deemed to accept those risks by playing. However, it is not necessarily a normal risk for a 13-year old that a (presumably) much larger and stronger adult will participate in full contact drill and injure him; since the coach chose to interject himself, that most likely takes away the issue that you and your son assumed the risk in letting him play, since, as noted, a coach hitting a 13-year old is not normal risk of middle school football. Then the question would be whether the coach was negligent, or unreasonably careless, in what he did, and there is a reasonable chance that he was.


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