Broken jaw playing softball...
(Lafayette Hill, PA)
My wife was playing in a township softball game. She was the pitcher and got hit with a line drive in the jaw. She broke her jaw and surgery was required. She was out of work for almost two months and still has pain, almost seven months after the incident. She now is required to go to therapy and requires a mouth guard because the jaw didn't heal 100% correct. While most of the medical treatments have been covered by her insurance, some have not.
This is a Pennsylvania Township league. I believe she signed a waiver with the league prior to the start of the league, but I am not completely sure. Can we file suit against the player or league for lost wages, pain and suffering and medical expenses? Is there any way she can get compensation for all she's been through? What can be done? Thank you for any information you can give.
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ANSWER for "Broken jaw playing softball...":
Time (Lafayette Hill, PA):
The waiver your wife likely signed reflects the legal doctrine of Assumption of Risk. In sports, Assumption of Risk refers to a player assuming the risk of injury normally associated with the particular sport. In softball, it is understood a player, especially a pitcher, may be hit with a ball. Your wife must have known that before taking the mound on that fateful day.
The waiver your wife signed probably had a clause similar to this:
"Participation in the Club involves inherent risk. Possible injuries include, but are not limited to, facial contusions, muscle strains and sprains, broken bones, lacerations, cardiac malfunction, head, neck, and back injury, paralysis, drowning (in water activities), and death. The undersigned understands that he/she should assess his/her physical condition and the possibility of injury. The undersigned understands that he/she is fully responsible for any and all medical expenses that he/she might incur as a result of his/her participation in any of the league's activities...."
There is an exception to the doctrine of assumption of risk. To overcome assumption of risk will require your wife to show the following:
- The batter’s conduct was intentional and was entirely outside the normal range of activity involved in the sport of softball
- As a result of the batter’s intentional conduct she was injured
- The batter’s conduct was the overriding and substantial cause of your wife's injury
From the facts you present, there does not appear to be any evidence the batter intentionally hit the ball so it would strike your wife in the face. Absent such evidence, your wife does not have the legal basis of a personal injury claim against the batter, or the league.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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