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The Rewards and Risks of Hockey Season

Hockey season in Illinois is nearly upon us. Soon, the Chicago Blackhawks and countless junior hockey leagues will be hitting the ice and dropping their pucks. Hockey is one of those sports that come with the risk of serious injuries. For professional and peewee leagues alike, injury prevention is a top priority. Some of the most common injuries include concussions, traumatic brain injury, and broken bones, all of which can require a long recovery.

Hockey Injuries and Insurance Claims

Typically, professional athletes sign releases in their contracts that limit the liability of the team as a legal entity (e.g., a franchise or an organization.) Thus, a professional player who is injured might not have grounds for a personal injury claim. The same goes for amateur and junior league hockey players. Once a release is signed, the player—or the player’s parent—then assumes responsibility for any and all injuries suffered when in practice or the game.

Exceptions to the Rule

Under certain circumstances, injured players can still seek compensation even if they signed a release. Injuries inflicted by negligent or malicious players—not uncommon in hockey—could result in civil liability. Teams aren’t necessarily responsible for every action of the players. So, when the gloves drop, liability isn’t as straightforward. Another situation where an injured player may be able to seek compensation is if his or her gear—such as a helmet—were defective. Unfortunately, these cases can be difficult to litigate.

Hockey injuries aren’t limited to the players. Even as a spectator, you could suffer serious injuries from a rowdy crowd. Indeed, hockey fans are notorious for their passion for the sport. A person who injured you could be liable if he or she were acting negligently, with intent, or were strictly liable for your injuries. The releases athletes sign often absolves the team itself of any strict liability. But if a player intentionally injures you—or your child—it helps to speak with an attorney to learn about your rights.

You’ll need the assistance of a skilled personal injury attorney if you are seeking compensation for a hockey injury. Consult with a knowledgeable Arlington Heights personal injury attorney to discuss your case. An attorney can identify any liable parties and advise you on your legal rights. Again, contract releases and player agreements can limit the liability of the parties involved. This leaves the injured person with fewer options. But speaking with an attorney is the only way to know you’ve covered all your bases and can exercise all your rights.

Hockey Season Is Right Around the Corner

Stay safe this hockey season by being a considerate spectator and educating your junior leaguer on how to gear up properly, minimize the risk of injury when checking, and settle their disputes on the ice according to the league rules. Have a fun season, and let’s help the Blackhawks hoist the cup!

R.F. Wittmeyer

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