Batter Up

Q: I was only 16. During an elective softball class, as a warm-up exercise, I was hitting ground balls to a fielder. A new student named Juliet approached me and asked if she could hit a few. I handed the bat to Juliet and told her, “This is just a practice drill, and don’t take full swings.” However, Juliet immediately threw the ball in the air and took a full swing before I had time to get out of the way.

A: The school will argue that you assumed the risk that resulted in your injury: that a participant in an athletic activity is deemed to have assumed those commonly appreciated risks which are inherent in the sport and flow from your participation. Its attorneys will contend that the danger of one person’s swinging a bat into another’s face while warming up for the game is inherent. Despite your tender age, if you were an experienced softball player, then there is a substantial likelihood that you will be found to have taken this risk upon yourself. Your attorney will need to dig deep. Perhaps, in truth, the accident resulted from some unassumed, concealed or increased risk from which your teacher should have been protected you. Perhaps the school knew or should have known what you did not – for example, that Juliet had severe behavioral problems. Even if you can clear the hurdle of assumption of the risk, your attorneys will still need to build a case that the school engaged in negligent supervision. Only a few seconds elapsed between your giving the bat to Juliet and this tragedy. Where an accident occurs in so short a span of time that even the most intense supervision could not have prevented it, the court may hold that lack of supervision cannot be the proximate cause of the accident. On this case more than many, your attorney must work very hard. 

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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