Rugby match injury compensation claims

Updated: October 8, 2018

Introduction

With 25 players injured in the first two weeks of the Rugby World Cup, and World Rugby's chief medical officer seeking a change to the tackle laws to reduce the risk of concussion injuries, we look at the potential dangers for those who play the game, and the options for players injured due to negligent or deliberately-rule breaking conduct.

The majority of sporting injuries are consequences of playing within the rules of the game. Claims for such injuries are usually not possible.

Where a player's conduct falls outside that expected of players, however, or an umpire or other official fails to protect players from injury, and a participant is injured as a result, it may be possible to make a sports injury claim.

Rugby tackle
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Do I have a rugby match injury claim?

If you were injured in a rugby match in the last three years and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.

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What are the most likely injuries?

Rugby injuries may occur as isolated incidents or as a result of continuous playing of the game and include:

  • Overuse injuries caused by running; including tendinitis in the knee or ankle, bursitis and medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints).
  • Traumatic injuries fractures, dislocations, sprains, strains and deep muscle bruises.
  • Head injuries and concussion.
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Prevention of injuries?

As it is such a physical contact sport, player safety is of paramount importance to the Rugby Football Union (RFU). It has specific regulations to ensure those involved in the game consider their own safety and the safety of others at all times.

Although the game involves players tackling, rucking and mauling opponents in a bid to win the match, the guiding principles state that a player must not wilfully or maliciously inflict injury on an opponent.

The RFU also states that players have a duty of care to consider their own fitness before participating in any rugby activity; with the parents and guardians of players under the age of 18 checking the fitness of those for whom they have responsibility.

Those who seek to return to the game after injury should seek medical advice before doing so.

In certain competitions additional medical and player safety regulations may be applicable. Teams involved in such competitions are responsible for checking specific competition regulations to ensure that these are complied with.

These rules set boundaries within which players and officials must individually and collectively operate; therefore any player sustaining injury as a result of another's deviation from this code of conduct may be able to claim compensation.

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When can a claim for a rugby injury be raised?

Because of the inherent danger of the sport, the ethics of rugby oblige everyone to take reasonable care for the physical safety of others where they are expected to foresee the outcome.

Something more than an error of judgement must have occurred to establish a claim for negligence.

An offending player must have shown a wilful disregard for the consequences of his actions. This might include a deliberate intention to knock the player out of the air when contesting for a kicked ball, or carrying out an illegal spear tackle (upturning a player past the horizontal).

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Can a rugby club be liable for an injury?

In the case of the professional game, contracted players have a number of obligations that they are required to observe arising from their contract of employment. Due to this contractual arrangement, a club may be liable for the negligent actions of a player who causes serious injury to another whilst they are acting in the course of their employment.

Known as vicarious liability', it allows a player to claim for personal injury because the harm was done during the playing of the game and, therefore, in the course of the second player's employment. Although this may include a deliberate stamp to a player, it does not extend to acts beyond the duration of a match.

Employers may also be liable where they subject a player to devastating and long-term health consequences by failing to warn them of the risks and consequences of preventable injury.

Amateur clubs

An amateur club is unlikely to be liable for an amateur player's conduct in the same sense. The player is not an employee and so vicarious liability is unlikely to apply.

However, it may still be possible to make a claim against the player directly. If the players actions amount to a criminal act, a claim may be made through the?Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

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How much compensation can I claim for a rugby match injury?

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

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Meet the QLS team

The national network of Quittance solicitors handle all types of personal injury claims, from less-severe claims to serious, long-term injury. Chosen on the basis of their winning track record, QLS's solicitors have years of experience.

Click here to meet more of the team.

Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Emma Bell Employers and Public Liability Panel Solicitor
Shahida Chaudery Complex Injury Claims Panel Solicitor
Jenny Jones, Senior litigator

About the author

With over 20 years' experience in the law, Jenny has spent the last decade specialising in personal injury, with a particular focus on industrial disease cases.

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