- Which type of sporting injuries can be claimed for
- What are common causes of sporting accidents
- How to prepare and make a claim if you are injured
It is almost inevitable, when participating in sporting activities, that at some point you will endure a sports related injury. From the very nature of sport, you will be pushing your body to extremes and in some cases using heavy or specialist equipment.
Generally, most sporting injuries are unavoidable accidents, usually occurring simply because many activities are performed at speed. Undoubtedly, certain sports pose more risk than others, for example extreme sports such as skiing or skateboarding. These come hand-in-hand with a higher risk factor, which is something that has to be considered before taking part. You are also arguably more at risk when participating in team sports such as football or rugby, than you are in a solo sport, purely because there are several people performing the same activity in close proximity at the same time. However, injury isn’t restricted to the higher risk sports, even simple exercise, such as running or cycling, still has the risk of injury from tripping, falling or being injured by other road users.
When is an accident not an accident?
In many cases, injuries are an inevitable part of playing sports. There are even common complaints that are synonymous with particular sports, which the individual faces as being a ‘side-effect’ of the sport, such as ‘Tennis Elbow’, shin splints for runners and possible broken bones from skiing. By taking part in the sport in the first place, you have given your consent to be affected by any potential injury that may come as a result of playing that sport. However, there are certain situations where the injury wasn’t an accident, and in these cases you could be in a position to make a sports injury claim.
The problem with trying to claim for a sporting injury is that it is not always clear-cut whether it was an unavoidable accident or a side effect of the sport being performed. This is mainly because of the associated risk, which is naturally acknowledged before an individual participates in the sport. These ‘grey areas’can sometimes make it difficult if you want to pursue an insurance claim for the injury.
If, for example, you’re injured as a result of accidental contact during team sports or from a judgment error that you made in an individual sport then it is unlikely that you will be able to make a claim. Unfortunately, these accidents are no one’s fault, and a general risk that is faced by participating in the sport.
Whether you are playing just for fun at the lowest level or at professional level, you are entitled to damages should the accident be due to someone else’s negligence, or should they have caused injury by acting outside the rules of the sport.
There are some instances when the fault clearly lies elsewhere. In these cases, you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation. The venue, club, organisation or person who caused the injury should have insurance that will cover any sports injury claims.
Examples of possible cases would be:
- Faulty equipment, including weights or machines at the gym.
- Poorly maintained hire equipment such as bikes or canoes.
- Unsafe surfaces on pitches or courts, which could cause trips and slips.
- Inadequate signage at a sports venue.
- Insufficient instruction from staff at the venue including instructors, referees or personal trainers.
- The umpire, referee or person in charge not ensuring maximum effort was made to prevent an accident.
- Players performing dangerous moves within a team game, or dangerous conduct by fellow players, such as playing a golf shot when fellow players are in range.
How to prepare for a claim
If you have sustained an injury that was due to someone else’s negligence you will most likely want to seek compensation for the inconvenience and potential loss of earnings during the recuperation period. However, it can be difficult to know where to start the process of making a claim. Making a claim doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful. The following guide will advise you on the steps that you will need to take.
1. Seek medical help
First and foremost when suffering a sports injury, it is vital that you seek medical attention immediately; ensuring that you get professional help as a matter of priority should assist with your recovery.
2. Collect evidence
The party you are making a claim against must be in breach of their duty of care to you. To support your claim you will need to collect as much information about the incident as possible. If your injuries prevent you from doing so, make sure a friend or team-mate gathers it for you. Evidence can include:
- Photographs of any defective equipment or playing surfaces. Pictures taken on phones are good as they are dated and often detail the GPS location.
- Gather details of any witnesses who were there at the time of the injury.
- Retain any proof (such as receipts) of injury related expenses. You may be able to reclaim these expenses at a later date.
- In all cases like this, medical documents and other evidence will be required for a successful claim.
3. Get legal advice
Once you have gathered the necessary evidence you will need to get in touch with an injury claim lawyer. They will be able to advise you whether you have got solid grounds to make a claim and if they believe that you are entitled to receive compensation.
Sports injuries can severely affect an individual’s day-to-day life, including their ability to earn an income for themselves and their family. With this in mind, it is hugely important to receive expert help in getting the claim together and a good lawyer will guide you through the claim to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. Working with a professional who is experienced in dealing with sports injury claims will make the process much easier for you. They will be able to properly assess your claim as they will have vast experience in dealing with similar injuries and claims.
What to expect in terms of compensation
General Damages–The purpose of compensation for General Damages is directly related to the injury that you have sustained.The amount of the compensation will be determined by the medical evidence provided.
This compensation will cover:
- Compensation for any pain, suffering and loss of amenity you have suffered as a result of your injury.
- Compensation to cover any general activities that can no longer be performed as a result of the injury.
Special Damages–The purpose of this compensation is to put you back in a position as if you were not injured in the first place.
This can include:
- Compensation to cover any past losses you have suffered as well as any subsequent expenses to trial. The amount will be determined from the evidence that you have provided in the form of documentation, receipts and statements.
- Serious injury compensation can also be considered if you are no longer able to work. Costs for housing modifications, equipment and care are also taken into consideration and calculated into the compensation claim.
- The courts can also provide a financial award, which takes into account the fact that a person’s prospects are no longer the same as before due to the injury suffered.
Achieving the best end result
By following the above advice, making a claim for a sports injury should be a straightforward and stress free process. Providing that you support your claim with sufficient supporting evidence and you have medical proof of your injuries, you should be well on your way to receiving the compensation that you deserve to move on and recover from your injury.
View our frequently asked questions on making a claim for a serious injury.
The Sports Injury Clinic provides advice and information on a range of sports related injuries.
Visit the NHS website for medical information on sports injuries.