High School Sports And Heat-Related Deaths: Understanding The Wrongful Death Liability
With the spring and early summer months serving as the most popular time for most outdoor high school sports, it's no surprise that many students suffer heat-related problems during practices and games. If your child is active in a school sport that takes place during the spring or summer seasons and dies as a result of heat stroke or dehydration, you need to understand the potential for a wrongful death claim. Here's a look at what you need to know about wrongful death suits due to sports-related heat and dehydration problems.
Could Your Child's Death Have Been Avoided?
If your child dies due to a heat-related injury during a school sports event or practice, the first thing you need to determine is if that death could have been prevented. For example, most school athletic associations have strict guidelines in place that coaches and administrators must follow in terms of practices, games and other events. There are restrictions that limit when students can practice in full uniform, how easily accessible water must be during practices and games and more. If the coach or school administration fails to abide by these standards, that means your child's death likely could have been avoided. In that case, their disregard for safety may be sufficient for a wrongful death suit.
What Are Some Common Violations That Can Lead To Wrongful Death?
If you're wondering whether or not your child's case qualifies for a wrongful death suit, there are a few key indications that may help you determine fault. Here are a few things to look for in the details surrounding your child's death:
- Was water easily accessible and provided? If water wasn't available to the students during practice or the coaches were limiting how often the kids could get a drink, that's a key indication of liability.
- Did your child have any other medical issues, and if so, were those medical concerns taken into consideration? For example, if your child has a heart condition, sickle-cell trait or any other underlying condition that could put him or her at risk, the coach should be accommodating and adjust practice requirements accordingly.
- Was the practice session held for longer than permitted by the athletic association's requirements? Sometimes coaches will try to stretch a practice session in an effort to avoid a second practice. For example, if the temperatures are high enough that the athletic association limits practice to 90 minutes before permitting a 2 hour break, the coach may decide to just push practice to two hours or more in an effort to finish out the day. This can put the kids at risk.
- Were the kids practicing in temperatures that were too high? Most athletic associations have restrictions on practices when the heat index reaches a certain point. If your child's coach held practice when the heat index was above that maximum limit or had the kids practicing in full uniform when they should have been in light gear, that's a potential liability as well.
If you suspect that your child's coach or school may be at fault, click here for more info on wrongful death cases.