The parents of children participating in high school sports rely on adequate safety equipment and satisfactory responses of coaches and emergency response professionals to keep their children safe. Sadly, sometimes one or both of these safeguards fails and children are left with personal injuries, including brain injury.
In 2008, Rhett Ridolfi a high school student, was participating in football practice when he was injured and suffered a serious brain injury. The boy did not receive prompt medical attention despite the fact that he had suffered a concussion. He complained of dizziness but was still asked to participate in tackle drills.
Now 22, Ridolfi is living with severe brain damage and left side paralysis. His family filed a lawsuit against Riddell, the helmet manufacturer, on the grounds of product liability for design defects and failure to adequately warn users about the dangers of concussions, even when using a helmet. Ridolfi’s family also sued the high school staff coaches for negligence. The Colorado jury awarded the family $11.5 million in damages, one quarter of which must be paid by Riddell. Despite the fact that the jury determined there were no design defects, Riddell was still found partially liable because of their failure to adequately warn their products users.
Riddell faces a similar lawsuit in Los Angeles and has been named as a defendant in connection with a lawsuit against the NFL filed by over 4,000 retired players and spouses. Though another state found the manufacturer not guilty in a similar case, it is important that individuals are not deterred from filing a personal injury claim against product manufacturers when negligence was a contributor to the injury. The outcome of any one case is determined by a number of factors, including the way in which the case is handled by the attorney.
Personal injury claims are not limited to safety equipment and can also apply to other equipment used in high school sporting events, such as practice equipment and conditioning equipment. If an equipment failure cause your child to receive serious personal injury, the manufacturer may be liable for damages that occurred as a result of the defect including medical costs, pain and suffering, and lost income.