Sports injuries

Personal injury solicitors

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As you may have been injured in an accident whilst playing sports, you could be entitled to claim compensation.  At Harris Fowler we specialise in getting you the compensation you deserve. This page will set out the elements of a claim we will need to prove and some hints and tips to help your claim go smoothly.

In order to make a claim for compensation following a sports injury you have to prove three things

  • That the other party (fellow participants or match official) owed you a duty of care
  • That the other party fell below the standard of care expected of them
  • That their failure to meet the standard of care caused you injury and/or loss

Assault and/or Trespass to the person

Whilst it is possible to bring a claim for trespass to the person, in order to bring such a claim you would need to prove to a court that the other party’s intention was to injure you i.e. it was a deliberate act rather than a poorly timed tackle. Given the intensity sports invokes, it is often difficult to show that someone intended to cause harm rather than just being neglectful as to the risk of injury. As such most claims of these types are brought under common law negligence but such claims are worth considering at times.

The First Part – Duty of Care

For the most part this is the easiest part of a claim to establish as the courts have already established that participants and spectators as well as match officials owe each other a duty to take reasonable care.

The Second Part – Breach of Duty

The second part of a claim is to show that the other party has failed to take such care as is reasonable in the circumstances.  

They will first consider what an ordinary, skilful, average person should have done in the same position and then consider whether the Defendant has fallen below that standard. The court will consider the rules of the sport in question to which you have consented, for example being hit whilst boxing as it likely falls within the rules of the sport, is likely not to be sufficient to be a breach of duty. However being hit whilst playing badminton is not considered to be within the rules of the sport and may be considered a breach of duty depending upon the facts.

The courts have previously set out that due to the fast moving nature of sporting events it would not impose liability on parties for mere errors of judgment, oversights or lapses. Because of this when trying to prove breach of duty in sporting injuries the threshold of liability is high. i.e. the action or inaction falls so far below the standard action that it should attract a financial liability. Quite often it is useful if it can be shown that the other party was acting in a manner that was deliberately reckless as to their chance of causing injury, For example a tennis player throwing their racket into the stand.

In the case of match officials it is also possible to bring a claim even where it may not even have been they that caused the injury. If you can show that the match official has failed to enforce or attempted to enforce the rules and as a result there have been repeated instances of dangerous play then the match official himself my become liable for failing to provide instruction and warning, for example in the case of a rugby referee that allows a player to repeatedly pull down a scrum. If someone becomes injured as a result of a scrum being pulled down and the referee has failed to enforce the rules he may become liable for your injuries.

As such claims are particularly fact dependent it is important to seek the advice of a specialist personal injury lawyer who will be better able to advise you on the facts of your case.

Hints and Tips for early on

Because of the Claimant’s need to prove breach of duty it is often beneficial when involved in an accident to contact a specialist personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. As witness evidence is particularly important in these cases, it is important that such evidence is collected as soon as possible.

The Third Part – That breach caused loss

The third and final part of bringing a claim is demonstrating that the other party is responsible for causing the injury and losses being claimed, whether this is personal injury or other financial losses such as loss of earnings.

Personal injury

With personal injury this would seem straight forward, another rugby player knowingly tries to tackle you whilst you are in the air and you fall breaking your back, it would seem obvious that the reckless tackle is the cause of your broken back. But this becomes more complicated when before the accident you already had a bad back or had underlying problems which you may not have even known about. Because of these complexities the court relies upon the opinion of independent medical experts as to what caused the injuries and how long they are likely to last.

If you have been injured in an accident it is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible to ensure you are getting the appropriate treatment for your injuries.  In addition, as the medical expert will likely have sight of your records of attendance they will act as evidence as to the nature and extent of your symptoms and will help support your claim.

Because the court will rely upon the opinion of the medical expert it is important that the expert is aware of any previous health issues or accidents. In addition, as the expert will need to comment on whether any financial losses such as treatment received or time off work is due to the accident, it is important that you also discuss these with the medical expert.

Other losses

Once the medical expert has provided their opinion as to whether the loss (time off work/treatment etc.) is as a result of the accident we will then need to collect evidence to calculate what each financial loss may be and your highly qualified and experienced lawyer will advise what is needed in respect of each head of loss you are looking to claim.

The important thing to remember however is to keep receipts for any expenses you incur as it will help us prove the loss and recover the monies in respect of that loss.

“Harris Fowler are the only ones I would trust. They make everything clear, easy and always deliver total honesty – Thank you to all who worked on my claim.”

Mrs Wendy Filkins
Compensation Calculator

What do I do next?

*Cases issued and finished between 01.01.2019 and 31.12.2019

Call us now for FREE on 0800 213 214
or fill out the claim form.

*Cases issued and finished between 01.01.2019 and 31.12.2019

Find out if you have a claim

CALL FREE 0800 213 214