Illegal block causes broken collarbone in a high school football game...

by Donna
(Fort Worth, TX)

During a Texas high school scrimmage football game my nephew was targeted and received an illegal block from the back. The results are a broken collarbone and he will be out for 5 to 6 weeks. The play is on film and clearly shows what happened.

Is there anything that can be done to the football player that caused the harm? Is he or his parents responsible for my nephew's medical bills and his pain and suffering?

I also feel that the other player should at least have to miss as many games as my nephew and possibly be responsible for the distress my nephew will suffer from missing the majority of his football games for the season. He was a starting safety on varsity.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Illegal block causes broken collarbone in a high school football game...":

Donna (Fort Worth, TX):

You have a right to be upset about the illegal block. If it was purposely thrown, the player should have been ejected from the game, reprimanded, suspended, or taken off the team.

Parents are responsible for the acts of their minor children, especially when those acts result in property damage or personal injury to third parties. Theoretically, you do have a legitimate injury claim against the parents of the boy who threw the illegal block. But it may be difficult to find an attorney to accept the case due to the legal doctrine of "Assumption of the Risk."

When parents permit their children to participate in school sports, those parents "assume the risk" of their child being injured. Football is a contact sport. Injuries often occur, and can range from minor sprains to head and spinal cord trauma.

Unfortunately, illegal blocks frequently occur in football games. When the illegal blocks are seen by a referee the team is normally penalized. However, when a referee believes the illegal block was intentional, a player can be ejected from the game.

You have an absolute right to contact the parents of the boy who threw the illegal block and demand they pay for your son's medical bills and resulting damages.

Those damages can include the costs of medical and therapy bills, your out-of-pocket expenses (for such items as medications, bandages, crutches, etc.), your lost wages if you had to take time off to care for your son, his lost wages if he was working part time, and for your son's pain and suffering.

If the parents refuse to cooperate, you can file a small claims lawsuit against them. The video of the play in which your son was injured can serve as clear evidence of the intentional injury.

The Texas Small Claims court jurisdictional limit (the maximum amount you can sue for) is $10,000. To read the law about Texas Small Claims Courts go to Sec. 27.060 of the Texas Code.

Additionally, the Texas Young Lawyers Association and the State Bar of Texas have published a manual to assist persons with the procedure for filing a small claims lawsuit. To read the manual click here.

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,

Judge Calisi

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