Salty player on Sea of Thieves (Wants to take legal action)
How to Take Legal Action for Player to Player Violence
Depending on the sport you play, you probably consent to some physical contact with other players. For example, if you play football, then you should expect to get tackled. Basketball players should expect to be fouled, and soccer players should expect to trip each other up. In some situations, however, the other player might deliberately try to hurt you. You may be able to sue the other player for personal injuries, although this depends on your state law.
Building Your Legal Case
Get video of the player attacking you.This evidence will be critical for your lawsuit against the other player. If a television station broadcast the game, then contact the station and ask for a copy of the tape. Tell whoever you speak to that you are thinking of suing the other player and you need video evidence.
Write down your memories of the violence.Video evidence might not exist. In this case, you should sit down as soon as possible and write down your memories of the violence. Describe what the other player did and said. Your own narrative evidence could be critical in the case, so don’t wait to record your memories.
- Be sure to record your emotional shock at being injured, since you may be able to get compensation for the emotional distress of being injured.
- You should also try to get other witness testimony. People who watched the game could write down what they remember. Have the witness sign the statement, as well.
- Contact people you know who will testify on your behalf. For example, other players and your coaches probably saw the other player attack you. They would make good witnesses.
Gather your medical records.Medical records will show the extent of your injury. Get copies of all relevant records from any doctor or hospital that treated you. If you need rehabilitation therapy, then get those records as well.
- Also be sure to hold onto your medical bills. You can be compensated for any money you spent treating your injury.
- This includes money for doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, and any equipment you need, like braces or splints.
Collect evidence of your lost earnings.If the player’s violence caused you to lose money, then you should collect evidence of your lost earnings. You can be compensated for any lost wages or income from your job.
- Your team should be able to give you a letter stating they are not paying you because you are out injured.
- If you were completely paralyzed, then you could sue for the lost income in the future.
- Gather tax forms, W-2 or 1099 forms, and evidence of benefits you received. These documents will be useful when calculating lost income.
Document your pain and suffering.You can also be compensated for any pain and suffering as a result of the player’s violence. This kind of injury is hard to calculate. However, you should document your pain by keeping a “pain journal.” You can submit this into evidence at your trial.
- In your pain journal, you should write down how you are feeling from the moment you get up until you go to sleep. Specify which parts of your body are in pain.
- Don’t exaggerate the pain. For example, don’t say, “I can’t sleep” unless you did not sleep at all that night. Instead, you could more accurately write, “Had difficulty sleeping because of lower back pain, which was constant. Probably drifted off to sleep around 3:00 am and woke, in pain, a little after 6:00 am.”
Ask a lawyer for tips on gathering evidence.If you run into difficulty getting any evidence, such as a video copy of the game, you should consult with a lawyer. A lawyer can help you build your case and explain what kinds of evidence would be helpful. It is best to bring a lawyer into the process early on, soon after you are injured.
Negotiating a Settlement with the Player
Draft a letter demanding compensation for your injuries.Before bringing a lawsuit, you might want to try negotiating a settlement. You can propose settlement talks by drafting a “demand” letter. The letter explains what happened and what kind of compensation you want. You can have your lawyer draft the letter for you.
- Briefly describe the incident as you remember it. Be sure not to use the word “accident.” Instead, say “incident” or even “assault” if the player assaulted you.
- Also summarize your medical treatment. Explain who you met with and what treatment that person provided.
- Create a chart listing all of the medical bills, as well as any lost earnings you suffered. Make sure to include copies of your medical bills, so that the other side can see how much you spent trying to recover from the injury.
- End the letter with a demand for how much money you want. Be aggressive; it is a starting point for negotiation. For example, “Taking into account your outrageous conduct assaulting me in a game, I demand 0,000 to settle this case. Please advise me as to your thoughts on this matter.”
Mail the demand letter to the other player.If the other player has a lawyer, then mail it to the lawyer instead. You should mail all communications certified mail, return receipt requested. The receipt will serve as proof that the letter was received.
- Always hold onto a copy for your records. Staple the return receipt to your copy of the demand letter.
Plan your negotiation strategy with your lawyer.If the other side wants to negotiate a settlement, it will contact you after receiving your demand letter. You should immediately begin planning for your negotiation. Meet with your lawyer to discuss your strategy.
- You need to decide how much you are willing to settle for. This will be the absolute minimum, also called your “walkaway” point. If the other side cannot meet your minimum, then you walk away from negotiations.
- To determine your walkaway point, you should identify your best alternative to a negotiation agreement. For example, your best alternative might to be to go to trial. If your evidence is particularly strong, then this is an attractive option. Accordingly, you could set a very high “walkaway” point.
Negotiate back and forth.You might meet in person to negotiate a settlement with the other player’s lawyers. However, sometimes personal injury negotiations are done entirely in writing. Regardless of how negotiations are conducted, make sure to stay in constant contact with your lawyer. He or she can’t accept a settlement offer without your permission.
- Don’t settle too quickly. Instead, you should make a counteroffer, coming down a little bit from the amount listed in your demand letter. For example, you might want to drop the amount a couple thousand dollars.
- After going back and forth, you should both eventually reach a number you both think is fair.
Sign a settlement agreement if you reach a resolution.The settlement agreement is a contract between you and the other player.The other player will agree to pay you money, and you agree not to file a lawsuit. Your lawyer can draft the settlement agreement along with the other player’s lawyer.
- If the other player refuses to follow the agreement, then you can sue, just as you could if someone violated a contract.
- You might have negotiated a settlement after you filed your lawsuit. In this situation, both you and the other player will agree to dismiss the lawsuit. You should also file the settlement agreement with the court.
Filing a Lawsuit in Court
Draft a complaint.You start a lawsuit by filing a legal document called a “complaint” with a court. This document identifies the parties (you and the player who injured you) and also describes the other player’s violence.
- In the complaint, you also state how much money you want as compensation for your injuries.
- Your lawyer should draft the complaint, along with all other court documents in your case. Be sure to get a copy of everything filed for your own records.
Serve notice of the lawsuit on the defendant.After your lawyer files your lawsuit, you need to give the other player notice that he or she is being sued. This notice will include a copy of the complaint and a “summons,” which tells the player how much time he or she has to file a response.
- Your lawyer will probably pay someone to make delivery on the defendant. Generally, you can hire a professional process server who will deliver a copy by hand for a fee.
- The process server will then fill out a document stating that service was made. Your lawyer files this document with the court to show that service was made on the defendant.
Read the player’s response to your lawsuit.The other player, as the defendant, will file either an “answer” or a “motion to dismiss.”In an answer, the defendant will either admit, deny, or claim insufficient knowledge to admit or deny the allegations in your complaint.
- In a motion to dismiss, the defendant will argue that you don’t have a legal claim and that your lawsuit should be dismissed. This is a hard motion for the defendant to win unless your state doesn’t allow athletes to bring lawsuits for another player’s violence.
Engage in fact-finding for the lawsuit.Lawsuits are long and drawn-out, in part because both you and the defendant can request information from each other in a process called “discovery.” During discovery, you can request any document that might be related to the case. For example, you could request that the player hand over any communication he made related to the attack on you.
- You can also have the other side answer questions. You can give the defendant written questions to answer under oath or ask questions face-to-face in a “deposition.”
Prepare for your deposition.As the injured party in the lawsuit, you will probably have to sit for a deposition. It will probably take place at the office of the defendant’s lawyer. During the deposition, the lawyer will try to find out your version of events and whether or not you have been following your doctor’s orders for recovery.
- Your lawyer might do a trial deposition with you. At the end, you will review your answers and address any issues you are uncomfortable with.
- During the deposition, remember to always tell the truth and to never guess. If you don’t know the answer to something, say, “I don’t know.”
Go to trial.Trial may be unavoidable. The other player might not want to settle, or the player might insist on paying an amount that is too low. In these situations, your lawyer will begin preparing for trial by gathering all of the evidence and finding witnesses to testify on your behalf.
- If you have to testify at the trial, then your lawyer should prepare you. Testifying in court is quite a bit like answering questions in a deposition except now you are answering them in a courtroom in front of more people.
- If you lose the lawsuit, then you might want to bring an appeal. You should talk with your lawyer about whether an appeal would be worthwhile. Do not delay. The amount of time will differ by state, but courts generally only give you 30 days or less to file your Notice of Appeal.
Getting Legal Help
Meet with a lawyer.Before taking legal action, you should get legal advice about whether or not you can bring a lawsuit. Not every state will allow athletes to sue another play for violence. In states that do, you must show that the athlete did more than commit a rule violation. In Massachusetts, for example, you must show that the player either intentionally hurt you or recklessly disregarded a known risk.
- Only a qualified attorney can advise you whether or not the player’s conduct was intentional or reckless under your state’s standard.
- You can find a personal injury attorney by visiting your state’s bar association, which should run a referral program. Once you get a name, you can call and schedule a consultation.
- Your team’s lawyer might also be able to give you a referral. The team’s lawyer probably can’t represent you personally, since he or she represents the team and not individual players. But your team’s lawyer probably knows of a good lawyer who could represent you.
Discuss the compensation you could get.In a lawsuit, compensation is called “damages.” Generally, you can get different kinds of damages. You should talk with your lawyer about which damages are available. You might be able to get the following damages in your personal injury lawsuit:
- Compensatory damages. These damages are awarded to cover whatever costs you incurred as a result of the player’s violence. They can cover medical bills, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. You can also cover lost income.
- Punitive damages. In some states, you can get punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant. If his or her conduct was particularly offensive, then you could get punitive damages. These are sometimes awarded as a multiple of your “compensatory” damages.
Talk about the lawyer’s fees.You should hire a lawyer to represent you in any lawsuit or negotiation. You will need the lawyer’s experience and expertise to get the best result possible. Accordingly, you should talk about how much the lawyer charges.
- Many personal injury attorneys will represent you on “contingency.” Under this arrangement, the lawyer doesn’t charge legal fees. Instead, he or she will take a percentage of any settlement or jury award. Most personal injury lawyers will take 33-40% of the money you win.
- You will also have to pay some legal costs, such as the cost of filing court documents and serving papers on the defendant. You will also have to pay for court reporters.
- You should realize that negotiations can happen at any point in time. The defendant might initially refuse to negotiate but, on the eve of trial, suddenly make an offer to settle the lawsuit.
- Although you can get compensation for emotional distress, the distress must be related to your physical injuries.
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