A common type of sports injury athletes suffer is concussions, when an individual’s brain is jolted because of an impact to the head or body. Often, the injury arises as a normal part of gameplay. However, in some situations, it is caused by the negligence or recklessness of a person or corporation. When someone else’s acts or omissions lead to a concussion, that party may be liable for damages the injured athlete sustained. Pursuing compensation requires proving that the injury occurred because of the at-fault party’s conduct.
If you are the victim of a sports injury resulting from negligence, please call Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. at (888) 398-2277 or submit an online contact form. We provide legal representation to athletes in Kansas City.
How Sports Concussions Can Happen
A concussion occurs when a person suffers a blow to their head or body. The impact causes the brain to shift or shake and can bruise nerves or blood vessels. The movement can also damage brain cells and affect the brain's chemical processes.
Nearly every sport involves some physical activity, putting athletes at risk of sustaining a concussion.
- A football player could get injured in a tackle.
- A soccer player could suffer injury from heading the ball wrong.
- A hockey player could crash into a wall.
- A boxer could be struck in the head.
Yet, harm does not only happen as a normal part of the game. Some situations exist when another’s negligence can lead to a concussion. For example, a player might get upset that a member of the opposing team brought them down in a fair tackle. That player might decide to exact revenge by intentionally engaging in conduct they know could result in serious injury to the other individual. Or a company might have manufactured faulty equipment that failed to provide the protection it was supposed to, causing athletes to suffer harm.
How Concussions Can Affect Athletes
Concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries that can impact how the brain works. Athletes subject to this harm can suffer short- and long-term consequences.
Immediate signs of a concussion include, but are not limited to:
- Blurred vision
- Poor balance
- Lack of concentration
- Slurred speech
An athlete who suffers a blow to the head or body and exhibits signs of a concussion should receive medical care as soon as possible. A doctor can run tests, assess the extent of the injury, and recommend treatment to manage the damage.
In most cases, concussions are treated by rest. Individuals are instructed to avoid strenuous mental or physical activity. Athletes are also told to avoid returning to play until they are symptom-free and have done well in post-concussion neurocognitive and physical exams.
Failing to take time to recover and participating in sports before fully healed can put an athlete at greater risk for another concussion. Being injured again can lead to swelling and brain damage.
Proving a Concussion in a Personal Injury Case
If an athlete’s concussion resulted from another person’s or corporation’s negligence, they could pursue compensation by filing a personal injury claim. Because the athlete has initiated the action, the burden rests on them to prove that the harm they suffered was caused by the other person or company.
The individual can demonstrate that they sustained a concussion by presenting several pieces of evidence, such as:
- Medical records: The athlete can submit results of imaging tests, such as x-rays, CT scans, or MRIs. Generally, these exams do not show brain damage in mild cases, but they can be used if more serious harm occurred, such as brain bleeding or swelling.
- Witness testimony: The victim or those close to them may testify about how the concussion has affected their life. The athlete might exhibit signs of long-term effects of a concussion, like trouble concentrating, memory issues, personality changes, sleep problems, or depression.
- Expert testimony: A doctor may discuss the results of the athlete’s neurological exams, the extent of the injury, and future impacts.
In addition to proving that they sustained a concussion, the athlete must also demonstrate that another person or entity caused their injury. For instance, they might have to show that a reckless individual engaged in conduct that harmed them, a company released defective sports equipment, or a property owner was negligent in repairing or warning of hazardous conditions on the premises.
Receiving a Fair Settlement for a Concussion
The amount of compensation an athlete could receive for damages depends on the facts of their case.
Several factors may be considered when determining the award, including:
- The severity of the injury
- The impact on the athlete
- The medical care needed
- The time missed from work
At Bertram & Graf, L.L.C., we thoroughly review the facts in sports injury cases to seek just financial recovery for our clients.
Speak with one of our Kansas City attorneys by contacting us at (888) 398-2277.