High school sporting events are a fun way to bring a community together, but tension can be high between teams. If you were watching your son during a game and were attacked by another parent, you need to prove you weren't liable in order to have a personal injury case.
Liability Is Weighed Based On Who Started It
Liability in fight lawsuits is usually decided based on who started the fight. For example, if you were cheering on your son and a spectator for the opposite team struck out at you without warning, they are liable for the fight. You were behaving in an appropriate way for the situation and did not contribute to the fight. However, it is possible that the use of "fighting words" could make you partially liable in this case.
First of all, it is important to understand what the term "fighting words" means in a case like this. Simply cheering on your son and his team doesn't count, even if the person who attacked you believes it does. Fighting words are legally defined as "Words which would likely make the person whom they are addressed commit an act of violence."
For example, if you were mocking the other sports team or specifically focusing your taunts on a member of the team, you could be considered using fighting words. This is especially true if you are using them knowing full well that a family member of that team or player is sitting near you. This is not a violation of your free speech, as fighting words are not protected by the First Amendment.
Defending Yourself In This Type Of Case
If the person who attacks you is claiming that you were either using fighting words or otherwise contributed to the fight, you need to defend yourself against these claims. In a case where both combatants are liable, no one can pursue a course of legal action. You need to prove that you were attacked without cause or that you were simply committing self-defense.
You could also argue that you were attempting to defend another person from the assailant. For example, if the attacker tried to hit your son after his team won a game or attempted to attack the coach, the use of force in this instance is defensible and you're not likely to be considered liable.
By proving the liability of your assailant and deflecting it from yourself, you are giving yourself the highest chance of winning a personal injury case like this. Talk to a lawyer, like one from Speers Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C., to better understand your rights and the extent of your claims.