A Guide to Claiming Sports Injury Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a sports injury we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a sports injury and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

Introduction

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 given 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.

Contact sports

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.

Non-Contact Sports

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.

Sporting injury masthead

Do I have a sports injury claim?

It should be possible to make a sports injury claim if your injury occurred:

  • within the last three years and,
  • another person was to blame.

However, there may be other considerations that mean you have a valid claim - even if the above points do not apply to you.

To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, you can speak to a legally trained adviser on 0800 612 7456.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.

Alternatively you can try our Online Claim Checker.

What if a child was injured?

The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.

A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a sports injury claim on their own behalf.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

Check my claim

How a compensation award could help you

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

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.

How much compensation can I claim for a sports injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your sports injury will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your sports injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a sports injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple sports injury injuries?

If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.

The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.

For example:

General damages for a serious leg injury can be £40,000

For a less severe arm injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £4,000.

However, if you have a serious leg injury and a less severe arm injury, you would typically receive £40,000 + a reduced percentage of £4,000.

Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries.

What is the average injury compensation for a sports injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a sports injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your sports injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Find out what your sports injury claim could be worth now

Assessing a claim's value at the outset can be complicated, particularly if you have multiple injuries.

If you would like a FREE claim estimate with no obligation to start a claim, call 0800 612 7456.

Alternatively, our compensation calculator will give you an instant estimate of what your claim is worth.

What if I am not yet sure of the extent of my injury?

If you have not yet sought medical attention, your solicitor will arrange a medical assessment for you ASAP. If you are awaiting test results, a claim can still be started. Once the extent of the injuries are known, the settlement can be calculated.

Can I claim for physiotherapy and private care costs?

Private treatment can be expensive, but funding towards the cost of this treatment frequently comprises part of a compensation award. Your solicitor may even be able to arrange access to private medical care as soon as your claim is accepted.

Calculate my claim

How long do I have to make a sports injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the sports injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your sports injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a sports injury after 3 years?

For adults, the general rule is no, you cannot start a claim more than three years after a sports injury.

However, if you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a sports injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Will I still be able to claim for a sports injury after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your sports injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

How long does it take to get compensation?

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.

What are the chances of your claim being successful?

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

How does no win, no fee work?

No win, no fee takes the risk out of making a sports injury claim. If you do not win any compensation, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.

No win, no fee guarantee

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no financial risk in making a sports injury claim, even if you don't win your claim.

What do I pay if I win my sports injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my sports injury claim?

If your sports injury claim is not successful then you won't have to pay your solicitor any fees.

Read more about No win, no fee

Please note, under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.

How can Quittance help?

Our highly experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims. Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Sports Injury FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long will my claim take?

The length of time needed to secure compensation can vary considerably.

For example, straightforward car accident claims can settle in a matter of weeks, whereas complex medical negligence cases can take years.

Injury claims can also take longer if it is not clear who is responsible for your injury, or if liability is denied by the defendant.

Taken from average case times, this table sets out approximately how long personal injury claims take to settle:

Personal injury claim type

Estimated claim duration*

Road accident claims

4 to 9 months

Work accident claims

6 to 9 months

Medical negligence claims

12 to 36 months

Industrial disease claims

12 to 18 months

Public place or occupiers’ liability claims

6 to 9 months

MIB claims (uninsured drivers)

3 to 4 months**

CICA claims (criminal assault)

12 to 18 months**

*RTA and other claims processed through the Ministry of Justice portal can settle faster.
**Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.

Read more about how long personal injury claims take.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by Quittance’s solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert