Tens of thousands of Oregon children are involved in organized sports every year, and one thing is as certain as night following day. When kids get involved in sports, some of them get hurt.
Many parents are left devastated when the sport their child played with such joy and passion ends up causing a devastating injury. In addition, many of those parents feel (without ever seeking legal advice from an Oregon sports injury attorney) that those accidents, while unfortunate, are one of the risks of taking part in any vigorous activity.
The fact is, the law allows for children who have been injured playing organized sports to be compensated in many cases, like the one involving Steven Domalewski, of Wayne, New Jersey. The now 18-year-old lives with his parents, and after his 2006 accident when playing Little League baseball, he will require care for the rest of his life.
Little League, the bat manufacturer, and a sporting goods chain were responsible
Steven was 12 years old and pitching for his Little League team when the accident happened. He threw a pitch; the batter swung and connected with his metal bat, and the line drive smashed into Steven’s chest, just above the heart.
Steven was knocked to the ground and according to people who were at the game, including his parents, he tried to reach for the ball in an attempt to throw it to first base.
He never made it that far.
Doctors say the ball struck Steven in that precise fraction of a second between heart beats. The severe impact of the ball caused him to go into cardiac arrest. Steven collapsed and stopped breathing. By the time his father and the other team’s third base coach got to him, he had already turned blue.
Within 90 seconds, a man trained in CPR jumped over the fence and started trying to resuscitate Steven. Paramedics were doing a CPR demonstration a mere 400 yards from the field and were with Steven within a matter of a couple of minutes. They placed an oxygen mask over his face and rushed him to a hospital, but the damage had already been done. Steven’s brain had been without oxygen for between 15 and 20 minutes, according to doctors who testified on his behalf.
The lawsuit named three plaintiffs, all of whom were partially liable for the brain damage Steven suffered when his brain was starved of oxygen. The main points of their claim were:
- Little League had certified that the specific metal bat being used by the hitter on the day Steven was injured was safe for use in games involving children. They approved the use of the metal bat.
- Little League apparently recognized the potential for danger in the use of metal bats as far back as the early 1990s, when they asked manufacturers to limit the metal bats’ performance to that of the best wooden bats.
- In 2008, two years after Steven’s injury, the crackdown on the performance of metal bats was being credited for reducing the number of injuries to Little League pitchers from 145 per year down to somewhere between 20 and 30 per year.
- Little League has also said that the use of most metal bats by young children had been banned for the 2012 season. Older kids can still use some metal bats, as long as they remain within prescribed weight and size limits.
- The Sports Authority, which is the national sporting goods retailer who sold the metal bat at the time was also named as a defendant. At the conclusion of the trial, they declined the opportunity to comment.
- Finally, Hillerich and Bradsby, the manufacturers of the Louisville Slugger metal bat in question, were also named as defendants in the lawsuit. When asked for comment, they would only confirm that a settlement had been reached but had nothing else to say.
Steven’s lawsuit was settled, according to an announcement in New Jersey’s State Superior Court last Wednesday. He is to receive $14.5 million, and his family says this will allow Steven to receive the care he will require for the rest of his life.
His parents say he still can’t perform any of the functions required in daily life without assistance, and there is no real hope that he will be able to do so in the future.
Oregon sports injuries
Portland sports injury attorneys point out that athletic facilities are required by law to provide safe, functional equipment, and they can be held liable if a patron is injured on their premises. This can apply to schools, organizations, teams and gyms.
Children are especially susceptible to sports injuries, because their bodies are still forming. In Oregon, football injuries tend to be the most severe, as it is traditionally the sport with the greatest amount of high-speed contact. The types of injuries suffered include:
- Head injuries, including concussion
- Neck injuries, including fractures, pinched or damaged nerves, or compression injuries
- Back or spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
Of course, sports injuries in Oregon aren’t limited to football. Other popular sports which can, if not properly monitored or when the appropriate equipment is not used in the correct manner, lead to serious and life-changing injuries include:
- Equestrian sports
The line between unfortunate accident and ultimately preventable injury is a fine one, and it’s hard for parents to know whether or not they have a case. Unfortunately, the statutes of limitation in Oregon for making sports injury claims are quite strict.
One thing is as certain as the fact that injuries will occur, and that is the cost of treating those injuries will be high. Are you absolutely certain that someone else shouldn’t be footing the bill for your son or daughter’s medical expenses?
If you’re in any doubt as to who might be liable for your child’s sports injury, don’t hesitate, because time is not on your side. Contact our experienced Portland sports injury attorneys for a free consultation. In this particular game, they really do know the score, and they will advise you on the strengths of your claim and whether or not you should pursue a lawsuit. If you decide to go ahead, they will guide you through every step of the process, handle the paper work and deal with the insurance companies, so you can concentrate on helping your child get better.