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Sports injury claims

Sports injury compensation advice

The majority of people who take part in sport recognise a degree of risk of injury, especially in contact sports. However, what if someone is at fault in causing injury? Is the injured person entitled to compensation?

It is not possible to avoid liability because someone has freely assumed a degree of risk of injury simply by taking part.

Our sports injury expertise

We have a dedicated team of experts who specialise in claims for compensation for injury, including sports injury claims. We have experience in dealing with claims involving:

  • football
  • rugby
  • horse riding
  • motorsport
  • skiing

Who might be sued following a sports related injury?

There are a number of potential defendants:

  • other participants
  • match officials
  • organisers of events
  • owners of sports facilities or grounds
  • treating doctors or therapists

Claims against other participants

Claims for compensation against other participants could be brought in negligence or trespass to the person (ie, battery).

Injury by negligence

Players in competitive sports owe a duty to each other to take reasonable care in the particular circumstances in which they are placed; there will be no liability for mere errors of judgement, oversights or lapses in the context of a fast moving contest. Each case will turn on its own facts.

The key issue in establishing whether there has been a breach of the duty of care is to look at what standard of care should be applied to these types of claims.

  • The claimant is not required to establish recklessness, but the breach of duty must be serious;
  • The rules or codes of particular sports are relevant, particularly any rules relating to conduct, especially in sports where there is physical contact between players;
  • Any informal codes of conduct – not just the formal rules.

Trespass to the person

For an injured person to bring a successful claim in battery, they must establish the defendant’s intention to cause harm, and it is difficult to identify a player’s intention during the heat of the game.

Claims against match officials

Such claims would usually be brought against a referee or umpire. The common test of negligence applies, ie is there a duty of care, has it been breached and has the breach of duty caused the injury?

Officials have a difficult job, but they have a duty to exercise reasonable care in the circumstances of the sporting activity being undertaken at the time. Similar consideration of the issues between players is required, ie. a requirement for serious error of judgement or oversight, bearing in mind the relevant rules.

Claims against organisers of events and/or owners of sports facilities or grounds

Individuals or organisations putting on sporting events and the owners of sports facilities or grounds also owe a duty of care to participants. Depending on the nature of the event, a claim may arise from a failure:

  • to carry out a sufficient risk assessment;
  • to provide sufficient guidance, instruction, warning or supervision (particularly where children are involved);
  • to provide adequate medical cover;
  • to provide a safe and suitable venue or facilities, appropriate personnel and equipment.

Claims against doctors or therapists

A medical adviser is clearly not responsible for causing a sporting injury, but it may give rise to a claim if a doctor, physiotherapist or other medical adviser is negligent in the way that they treat that injury and as a result, causes further damage or delays or prevents recovery. A medical adviser will not be negligent if they are acting in accordance with the practice accepted as proper by a responsible body of medical opinion within their field. Issues which require attention include:

  • Whether the medical adviser is engaged by the club, or employed by the club (If the medical adviser is a club employee, the club is vicariously liable if they cause a player injury as a consequence of negligent advice or treatment);
  • If the medical adviser is not employed by the club, then not only may the player have a claim for compensation for injury and financial losses, but the club may have a claim for losses arising from the injury to the player.

Contact a sports injury lawyer

For a free consultation and more information about a sports injury claim, please contact one of our sports injury specialists on 0800 316 8892 or online.

We can advise you in relation to a potential claim for compensation for injury and financial losses and, where appropriate, help you gain access to treatment and rehabilitation. We can also advise you about your funding options, including ‘no win, no fee’ where you will not have to pay legal fees if your claim is unsuccessful.

Your key contact

Lee Hart

Personal Injury Team Manager

Lee works closely with severely injured people and their families, leading them through the claims process and ensuring they get the best treatment, rehabilitation and care so that they can get their lives back on track as quickly as possible.
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