Who Pays for Medical Bills After a Child Sports Accident?
Emergency room visits are on the rise for kids, and one of the most common reasons is sports injuries. Kids are often injured while playing sports at school or in organized program.
Kids are suffering more injuries in basketball, soccer and football. Thirty years ago, the minimum age for full contact football was grades 9 or 10. It is now offered to much younger kids. Kids as young as 6 or 7 are now playing full contact football.
In addition, kids are getting injured while at sports camps, play gyms and sports facilities like jumping gyms or obstacle gyms. Common injuries include concussions and broken bones.
Medical bills can pile up and quickly. An ER visit may require diagnostic tests like an x-ray, MRI or CT-scan. In serious cases, surgery and physical therapy may be necessary. In a matter of days, the bills can easily add up to thousands of dollars. Are parents totally out of luck?
Medical Bills and Treatment – Check the Commercial Insurance Policy of the Sports Organization or Facility
In some instances, the business where the accident occurred may have a commercial insurance policy that covers some of the medical expenses. It’s often called Med-Pay. The vast majority of businesses that operate sports facilities or gyms purchase commercial policies, and they often come with Med-Pay. Coverage amounts may vary and tend to be small, i.e., $1,000 or $5,000.
In order to determine whether a child who is injured in a sports accident is eligible for Med-Pay, it is usually necessary to speak to a lawyer who can get the ball rolling by contacting the business formally to request contact with the insurance company.
It is vital that a parent not engage in this process on their own. A representative or agent from the insurance company may call and request info about the accident and injuries. This individual may seek to get information that is helpful for their side. For example, the insurance rep may ask how the accident occurred and try to elicit information or a statement suggesting that the accident was the child’s own fault. Later on, those statements may hinder the child’s ability to get compensated.
In some instances, sports organizations buy special insurance policies that cover medical expenses in the event of injury. Some organizations may require parents to buy their own insurance coverage. In the event of an injury, the child’s medical expenses may be covered under these types of policies, up to the amount purchased.
It is important to note the importance of reporting the accident as soon as possible after it occurs. Usually, an accident report or incident report will be generated. That report acts as proof that an accident occurred and will come in handy when it comes time to make a claim.
Does a Waiver of Liability Bar Your Child’s Legal Claim?
What most parents don’t know is that a child’s waiver of liability is not likely to bar the child’s legal claim. In both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, courts tend to rule in favor of a child when it comes to waivers of liability. That’s because minors are legally unable to execute contracts, and parents who often sign waivers for their children have no legal authority to bargain away their child’s legal rights. However, when a parent does sign a waiver, that waiver will usually be upheld as to the parent’s legal claim. Any derivative claim the parent might have had would be barred if the parent signed the waiver for the child. Read more about waivers of liability in Pennsylvania sports injury cases, Pennsylvania Injury Law – Waivers of Liability for Sports Accidents.
Medical Bills and Treatment – Filing a Lawsuit for Your Child After a Sports Injury
In some cases, it will be necessary to seek legal advice to determine whether there is a valid lawsuit. Oftentimes, a sports facility or organization will be liable for negligent conduct. Common claims include negligence in training employees or failing to properly supervise the players.
For example, a child attending a sports camp is left unattended with older children during a drill. The camp counselors at the sports camp are high school kids who received no training on running proper drills, safety or matching children by skill sets. During the drill, the child is injured when he is struck in the head with a baseball bat. The counselor running this particular drill stopped paying attention to answer his cell phone. One of the older children swung the bat while the younger child was nearby, striking him in the head.
In this example, the camp facility may be liable for leaving the children unattended during a drill, where a younger child was left with much older children. The owner of the camp may be liable for the child’s injuries, medical treatment and pain and suffering.
Need Help Getting Medical Bills Paid After a Sports Injury in PA or NJ?
Contact our child injury lawyers to discuss your child’s legal rights, including the ability to get coverage for medical bills. 215.399.9255
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