March 13, 2019
Cheerleading is a staple of any high school sporting event. From a rivalry football game on a Friday evening to a heated basketball match-up, cheerleaders are an important part of energizing a crowd and making spectators feel involved. And being a cheerleader is a great way for young women and men to engage in a community of peers.
But what if your child is injured while cheerleading? What options do you have that will ensure their recovery and that the liable party covers any damages?
First things first: a waiver is not an end-all-be-all solution to liability.
Even if you—as the cheerleader’s legal guardian—sign a waiver, you have not automatically released a coach or gym or school from liability. Whoever oversees practices or runs an event or owns the school still must fulfill their part of the waiver agreement by providing a safe environment in which cheerleaders can perform. Anything less than that, especially intentionally, is potentially negligent on behalf of the supervising party.
Cases of extreme negligence can negate any attempt on the part of an event organizer or premises owner to separate themselves from liability. Some of these extreme examples include ignoring outright any mandatory safety precautions, disregarding concussion protocols (which are extensive), or other injury procedures.
If you think your child’s injury stems from a situation like this, the burden of proving that will fall to you. An Indianapolis personal injury attorney can shoulder that burden for you so you can focus on what’s really important: your child’s well-being.
Taking the time to understand the squad’s routines and practices—and the potential dangers they pose—will help you in that endeavor, especially if the routines are particularly hazardous (such as flying). Such a risky routine demands constant adult supervision, and if your child’s coach wasn’t present, they may be liable in the situation.
Schools and Premises Liability
Fortunately, cheerleading and other athletic events are identical in the eyes of the law. Schools must protect the health and safety of participants of each activity. This protection is across the board, from planning properly to responding to emergencies efficiently.
However, holding a school accountable for your child’s injury may prove difficult, depending on the type of school they attend.
Did the injury occur at a private school? Your path is a bit more straightforward, given the nature of how private schools receive their funding. You may even be able to file a personal injury claim in such a situation.
Things become less clear if your child attends a public school, since “sovereign immunity,” a principle which covers public entities from certain amounts of liability, comes into play. There’s a strict procedure you need to follow in that case, as these public premises liability cases differ from state to state, and Indiana has its own unique process. Get in touch with us to learn more about your options.
Help from an Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer
Cheerleading should be a highlight in your child’s high school career. But if your child or the child of someone you know has had injury mar that experience, Hensley Legal Group may be able to help. Call us today or contact us online for a free conversation about your claim. Our Indiana personal injury lawyers are here to help.