A man who was injured while playing tennis will be allowed to proceed with his lawsuit against the tennis club, a New York Appellate Court has recently ruled. Many times a lawsuit based upon an injury suffered in the course of an athletic activity will be barred on the theory that the participant of a sporting event has assumed the risks of the sport. However, a person does not assume the risks of an athletic event which are not inherent to the activity.In Herman v. Lifeplex, LLC, the plaintiff was playing tennis in an indoor facility. While backpedaling to play a shot he stepped on some water bottles which were hidden by the curtain separating the courts, causing him to fall and be injured. The defendant tennis facility made a motion to dismiss the case, which the court denied, stating that:
"The doctrine of primary assumption of risk provides that a voluntary participant in a sporting or recreational activity consents to those commonly appreciated risks which are inherent in and arise out of the nature of the sport generally and flow from such participation'". The doctrine does not serve as a bar to liability if the risk is unassumed, concealed, or unreasonably increased. (citations omitted)
To succeed at trial the plaintiff, as the victim of a trip and fall accident, will still have to prove one of three things: 1) That the tennis facility created a dangerous condition by placing the water bottles where they were; 2) That the tennis facility had actual notice that the water bottles in issue were present; or 3) That the water bottles were present for enough time that the tennis facility should have become aware of them if they conducted proper inspections of their facility.
If you are injured in an accident while involved in an athletic activity, or after slipping or tripping, you should contact a personal injury lawyer experienced in handling such cases. For a free consultation call the New York personal injury law firm of Zalman Schnurman & Miner P.C. at 1-800-LAWLINE (1-800-529-5463).