Visitor Question

Lawsuit for injury in a men’s league softball game?

Submitted By: Don (Cincinnati, Ohio)

We play in a men’s softball league on Thursday nights. I am the coach. I asked a player to play at the last second to get us to 10. Later in the game, one of my players walked into a practice swing of the fill-in player. He was hit in the mouth and severely injured. Now I have been told by his wife that they are going to sue and its my fault for asking the kid to play.

I was just threatened by the player himself about giving up info the easy way or the hard way. We all sign a roster that I believe doubles as a release. There are signs posted that its a play at your own risk place.

My question is, am I subject to being sued? Is ANYONE subject to get sued since it was an accident? Police came and there were no charges or arrests.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Don,

In most cases, when a sports participant takes the field of play, that participant assumes the reasonable risk which goes along with playing the sport.

Presumably the player who was struck in the mouth knew, or should have known walking too close to a player with bat in hand could be dangerous. So too, the player with the bat knew, or should have known there might be other players close to him, and should have been careful when taking his practice swings.

In this case, it appears both players may have contributed to the injury. Ohio law deals with this issue by recognizing the rule of “Contributory Negligence and Implied Assumption of the Risk.”

The Ohio Revised Code, §2315.19 can be interpreted to mean fault will be divided according to each player’s contribution to the injury. Presumably, both players knew, or should have known to be careful, and therefore share the responsibility for the injury.

In this case, you appear not to have contributed in any manner to the injury. Therefore, you have no liability. You could not have known one player would have struck another player. It is unlikely a lawsuit will succeed. No one involved acted maliciously, or negligently. What occurred was an unfortunate hazard of the game.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 19, 2017

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