Sports injury compensation claims
In this guide we explain everything you should know about making a successful sports injury compensation claim.
Sports injuries are very common. Every year 1-1.5 million people attend Accident and Emergency departments with a sports related injury according to the Journal of Sports Therapy.
Common causes of sporting injuries include dangerous ground conditions such as frozen pitches or badly maintained sports venues, dangerous or illegal tackles and defective equipment.
Coaching players to use dangerous tactics or being give poor medical advice associated with an existing condition can all lead to injury.
Contact sports such as football or rugby often lead to leg fractures when tackles go wrong, and neck and back injuries especially in the scrum.
Accidents in non contact sports such as horse riding, often occur due to inconsiderate drivers or faulty equipment and can cause serious head and spinal injuries. Horse riding accidents frequently occur in remote locations, often needing services like The Air Ambulance Service to rescue and treat the rider before taking them to the appropriate hospital.
Participants in contact sports such as martial arts, rugby or football are at greater risk of injury. When assessing a claim, the Courts must decide whether the injury resulted from an intentional or reckless disregard for the injured party's safety. Courts do not tend to award compensation if the injury is viewed as an error of judgement or is a sporting occupational hazard.
Claims for non contact sports injuries, such as those sustained during snowboarding or skiing, can often be brought against the resort operator if it can be established that proper safety precautions were not in place.
In order to claim compensation for a sporting accident, it must have:
- occurred within the last 3 years or anytime if the claimant is under 21
- been the cause of the injury sustained
- resulted from the negligence of a responsible party
To make a successful claim, your solicitor must demonstrate that your injury resulted from the accident and the defendant was responsible for the accident.
Time limits for sports injury compensation
Compensation claims must usually be started with three years of the injury, or within three years of an individual's 18th birthday if they were injured as a child. As a general rule, starting a claim earlier may enable witnesses to recall the details of an accident more clearly, and will give your solicitor more time to negotiate a settlement.
If both you and the other party share some responsibility, it may still be possible to receive compensation in proportion to the apportionment of blame. Such circumstances are concluded with split liability agreements.
Sporting claims are sometimes pursued on behalf of spectators. Failures to provide a safe spectator environment and lapses in crowd control are common issues.
An injury can have major repercussions for an injured person and their family.
Quittance's panel of specialist solicitors have a track record of securing compensation awards for:
- loss of earnings while you are unable to work
- loss of earnings if you are not able to work
- expected future medical care costs and any which you have already incurred
- travel costs and other expenses arising from the injury
- damage to personal possessions
- general pain and suffering including loss of amenity
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
Quittance's panel of personal injury specialists know that claiming compensation may not be an easy decision, and will run through your options with you.
Helping sports people who have sustained an injury successfully claim compensation, our solicitors have acted on behalf of injured parties in a wide range of cases.
Court awards and settlements have been negotiated for injuries including cycling, running, football, rugby, hockey, cricket, skiing, snowboarding, motorsport, gym accidents and martial arts.
Recommended compensation for general damages is set by the Judicial College (formerly the Judicial Studies Board) and published in personal injury awards guidelines. These guidelines are reviewed on a regular basis. These awards are calculated in relation to the nature and severity of an injury. For each injury type, amounts are set out with upper and lower values.
While the Judicial College guidelines are suggested amounts rather than legally binding their use is usually adopted in Court and most insurers and solicitors will refer to the guidelines when calculating compensation for an accident or illness.
It may be possible to claim for existing injuries or medical conditions if they have worsened due to the accident or illness.
Damage to personal possessions, travel expenses (such as to doctors' appointments) and the cost of treatment can be compensated for too. These are called special damages.
Some PI claims can be straightforward and financial compensation is awarded in a relatively short time frame. More complicated or severe cases typically take a longer amount of time to settle. The greater majority of injury claims are negotiated by insurance companies and are settled by insurance companies.
It is therefore difficult to predict how long will be needed to reach a settlement . In some cases it can actually benefit the injured party to negotiate for longer as this approach can result in a larger settlement.
In order to get a more accurate prognosis of how long your sports injury claim will take, speak to a claims specialist on free phone 0800 612 7456 or by getting a free Compensation Claim Report.
Bringing a successful claim often centres around witnesses. such as spectators or other players. Ideally the incident will have been seen by the referee or match official.
The three points needed to prove fault in a compensation claim:
- did the other side owe you a duty of care
- did they breach that duty
- did the breach cause your injuries
These considerations can be summed up as "Were they the cause of your injury "
Where it has been accepted by the defendant that they were responsible you likely have a very good chance of succeeding. If the other side does not accept full responsibility it may be harder to successfully negotiate compensation.
Whether liability is acknowledged or not, doing everything you can to help your case is strongly recommended. Your solicitor will advise on a recommended course of action. The steps you can take include:
- report the incident (e.g. in an accident book if injured at work)
- take photos of the scene
- gather witness statements from fellow players, match officials and spectators
A No Win, No Fee claim is started after the injured claimant signs up to, with their chosen solicitor, a Conditional Fee Agreement, also known as a "CFA",.
A CFA sets out the service executed by your lawyer and a percentage-based "success fee". This is the fee to be deducted from your damages once the case is won.
By choosing a Quittance injury-specialist solicitor, you can prioritise your rest and recovery, with the knowledge that there is nothing to pay if the case is unsuccessful.
The national panel of Quittance solicitors take on all types of personal injury claims, from fast track claims to catastrophic injury. Our lawyers are chosen for their professionalism and their track record in winning claims.
About the author
Jonathan has over 30 years' experience in the personal injury sector and has been awarded the rank of Senior Litigator by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert