When Things Aren't Nice On The Ice -- Why You May Need To File A Lawsuit For Your Hockey Fight Injuries
If you're like many Canadians, you live, breathe and play hockey. And while it is a fun and exciting aerobic sport, it can also be violent at times, even at club or amateur levels. Body checks and flailing sticks can lead to hot tempers and bad decisions. For many players, it's all part of the game. But is there a fine line between roughhousing and violence with intention to do bodily harm? And what should you do if you believe you were injured in an incident during a game that you believe went far beyond the normal bounds of the game?
Hockey Fights, Incidents and Injuries
Because it is such a fast and physical sport, fighting is often accepted as part of the game of hockey. As brutal as some fights may seem, fans and players say that opponents rarely injure each other because it's hard for them to get enough traction while on skates to deliver truly punishing blows. That is why referees rarely intervene until the fighters fall. But occasionally, a player will take things too far and seriously injure an opponent. The following are some examples of incidents where conduct on the ice became a legal issue:
- In 2012, a recreational hockey player was convicted of assault after he was involved in an on-ice collision with another player during a non-contact league game. Unfortunately, one player claimed he suffered physical injuries that resulted in a loss of income. The courts agreed with him and convicted the other player of aggravated assault. In addition, the injured party sued the other player and the league for $600,000.
- In 2013, a teen was convicted of assault after he attacked another player during a youth hockey game, pummeling him while he was on the ice. The victim ended up with numerous injuries, including a broken nose and black eyes.
- In 2004, a player was sued by another man after he broke his jaw in three places during a fight. The incident occurred during a so-called "gentleman's" hockey game.
You've Been Seriously Injured. Now What?
If you've been injured during a fight that went far beyond the normal rough-and-tumble battles that may typically occur during a hockey game and believe that you may need to seek legal remedy for your medical costs and other expenses, you should do the following:
- Get the name of any witnesses to the incident. Also ask if anyone may have taken a video of the fight and your resulting injuries. Nowadays, it's not unusual for bystanders to whip out their phones to take a video of a fight, especially if it appears to be escalating out of control.
- Ask the hockey rink if they have videotapes that may show the incident. Even if there are no cameras directly in the rink, there may be ones in the lobby area that include glimpses of the ice.
- Call the police and report the incident. Having a police report of the incident could be helpful for your lawyers if you should go to trial.
- Contact a lawyer and discuss the circumstances of your fight and injuries. If your injuries occurred during the normal course of the hockey game, you probably won't have a legal case. For example, if you and another player were scrumming in a corner and you both hit the ice and you broke your arm, you probably wouldn't have a claim. If, however, you can prove that the other player intentionally tried to break your arm, you might have a potential claim.
- Keep a record of your medical expenses and procedures. It is also important to note any time off that you had to take from work due to your injuries.
Hockey can be a volatile sport, but not all injuries can be considered "just a part of the game." So if you believe your injuries were due to an assault and didn't just occur as a natural part of the game, you may want to contact an attorney, such as those found at Flett Manning Moore.