Articles Posted in Sporting Injuries

Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case discussing an interesting issue that arises in many New Mexico personal injury cases. Specifically, the case required the court determine what standard the defendant’s conduct should be held to in determining whether he was liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.

In New Mexico personal injury cases, in order for a plaintiff to be successful, they must establish that the defendant violated a standard of care that was owed to them by the defendant. In most New Mexico personal injury cases, the negligence standard is applied. However, in some limited situations, other standards can apply. The case mentioned above involves the application of the “reckless misconduct” standard. Importantly, New Mexico law differs from that applied in the following case, however, the case does offer a good illustration of how courts approach this analysis.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was golfing with the defendant when, on the eighth hole, the defendant struck the defendant with the golf cart the two had been using to get around the course. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant.

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Anyone who has played a high-impact sport, such as football, understands that there is a risk of injury. However, the types of injuries most players would expect to encounter on the field are sprains, strains, or maybe a broken bone. However, according to research that has been conducted over the last several years, there is a high correlation between participation in high-impact sports and the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Victims of this condition in New Mexico may be able to bring a New Mexico brain injury case against someone whose negligence led to the condition.

CTE is a brain disorder that is characterized by severe cognitive disorders, including depression, anxiety, memory loss, impulsive behavior, and substance abuse, and it has been linked to an increased risk of suicide. The disease is believed to be caused by repetitive blows to the head and has recently been linked to participation in contact sports throughout all levels, including high school and college. However, the presence of CTE in former football players is the greatest, with one recent report concluding that CTE was found in 110 of 111 players surveyed.

Currently, CTE can only be diagnosed through a post-mortem autopsy, which makes it difficult to determine if a current or former player is suffering from CTE or from other mental health issues that may have another cause. Researchers have estimated that there will be a way to diagnose CTE in living patients within a decade.

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The most recent news concerning injuries caused by participation in sports is focused on professional athletes who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Many reports have focused on the serious damage that can be caused by participation in these high-impact sports. However, these injuries are not isolated to individuals playing these sports on a national level. Instead, these injuries happen on an everyday basis to kids of all ages who engage in these activities.

Millions of children ranging from pre-school through college participate in sports, both recreationally and competitively. Although getting injured in some sports is par for the course, some serious injuries can be prevented. It is important that children are instructed on the correct and safe ways to play sports when they are participating in a league, since if not, the harm sustained can be lifelong.

Many parents are mandated to sign release of liability forms before registering their children for sports. However, as with many things, there are exceptions to the enforceability of those waiver forms. A parent or guardian who wishes to file a lawsuit on behalf of their child must first narrow down who exactly is responsible for the injury. That may be the coach, the organization, or the league. In some situations, it is all of these parties, and maybe even others. Then, the parent must be able to show that the alleged defendant was actually negligent and that the party’s negligence caused their child’s injuries.

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