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Suing For Injury During A Game

(Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A former NFL player is suing, because his knee was injured during a game. Isn’t an injury one of the perils of the game?

Barrett Green, a former linebacker for the Detroit Lions, recently sued the Washington Redskins and its former coach Gregg Williams because of a career-ending knee injury he received during a game.

Given that getting clobbered is an expected part of the game, how can he sue?

In general, you can’t file a lawsuit if you’re hurt in a way that’s foreseeable. In other words, anyone – from a professional athlete to you, ya’ weekend warrior – who knows that there’s a risk of injury in any game he plays and then is hurt exactly the way anyone could see coming, can’t sue because under the law, he took that risk when he played. But Barrett Green says that he was targeted for injury because Williams told players he’d pay a bounty to those who intentionally roughed up other teams’ players.

It remains to be seen if he can prove that he was the victim of a bounty, which wouldn’t be an expected risk of the game, or just an unlucky ex-athlete. But just because he or anyone steps into a game doesn’t mean he can never say there should be a financial penalty for poor sportsmanship.