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?

UPDATED: Nov 3, 2011

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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