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Signing a Waiver for Youth Sports Participation: What Parents Need to Know

Jun 3, 2022

Summertime in California is upon us. It’s that time of year when children participate in summer sports leagues and organized sports at summer camps.

Participating in sports offers many rewards for children. It’s a great way to stay active and meet new friends. Sports can also help children build confidence, learn new skills, and work with others.

However, as many parents know all too well, playing sports comes with risks. Sports injuries are the second leading cause of emergency room visits for children and adolescents, and the second leading cause of injuries in school, according to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. In the world of competitive sports, every player — no matter how skilled — is still at risk of injury.

A Signed Liability Waiver Is Not a “Get Out of Jail Free” Card for Youth Sports Organizations

Facility managers, coaches, camp directors and sports leagues are also well aware of the risk of injury. As a result, they often require parents to sign liability waivers before their children are allowed to participate in organized sports activities.

Because they are so routinely required, there is a common misconception among parents about liability waivers and the weight they have. Many parents automatically assume that signing a liability waiver means that no matter the cause of their child’s injury, they cannot hold the sports organization, camp, or league responsible. Believing this, many parents of injured children shoulder the financial burden their insurance does not cover, such as rehabilitation and home care expenses, as well as special equipment (adjustable beds, vans for the physically challenged, etc.).

During moments like this – when your child is injured – it’s vital to speak with an experienced injury attorney.

While some injuries are unavoidable, others can be prevented through responsible adherence to safety protocols and basic preventative measures. Although players, including participants in youth sports events, assume certain risks, equipment manufacturers, coaches, and other sports professionals must maintain safety standards.

Ordinary Negligence

Liability waivers only protect organizations from injuries arising out of ordinary negligence. An injury resulting from the inherent risks in a sport is considered ordinary negligence.

What If Ordinary Negligence Is Not to Blame?

California law permits people to sue for injuries caused by gross negligence, recklessness, intentional torts, and illegal acts, regardless of any youth sports injury liability waiver that may have been signed by a parent.

When sporting officials do not ensure a safe environment and a child is injured, parents might have a legitimate legal claim. In other words, there is a possibility that you may be entitled to financial damages and reimbursement for medical bills despite having signed a liability waiver.


Speak to L
awyers Who Take Youth Sports Injuries to Heart

California personal injury attorneys at Owen, Patterson & Owen can assist when another party is negligent, and your child is injured as a result. Here are just a few youth sports injury scenarios involving negligence:

Known defects in equipment, whether caused by maintenance or the manufacturer

Improper maintenance of the field, court, track, or pools

Inadequate supervision

Coach and/or trainers overexerting a child by pushing them beyond reasonable limits during training and practice

Intentional harm when there is an assault or battery, perhaps when the coaching staff gets too riled up

Injury prevention and safety are critical for every athlete, regardless of age or skill level. When it comes to our own children, we take youth sports injuries seriously. So, we take them equally as seriously when it comes to yours.

If your child has suffered an injury after signing a waiver of liability (also known as a “Consent Form”) in California, feel free to reach out to us about your rights and legal options at absolutely no cost to you.

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