There’s no doubt that participating in sports hugely benefits our physical and mental health. While we all have a responsibility to ensure that we practise sports safely, occasionally, injuries do happen. A survey conducted by Podium Analytics and YouGov highlighted that some 40% of respondents experienced a sports-related injury and more than one in three still felt the effects of that injury later on.

Whether you participate in contact sports, such as football, or non-contact sports, such as cycling, if you experience a sports injury as a result of someone else’s actions or negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. The amount that you can claim is dependent on how serious the injury was and what financial losses or costs you may have incurred or expect to incur.

What is sports injury compensation?

If you’re injured whilst playing sports, through no fault of your own, the expenses can rack up quite quickly. You may be unable to work as a result of the injury, be it temporarily or permanently, or you may be faced with significant medical costs. Whatever the case may be, sports injury compensation can help you to meet those unexpected costs and recover your losses.

There are two main forms of sports injury compensation claims:

  • General Damages– this type of claim seeks recompense for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA). The amount you can claim is determined by the Judicial College.
  • Special Damages– claims to cover any financial losses and expenses that you may have incurred due to the accident

A qualified solicitor can provide you with advice and guidance over your specific circumstances.

Contact sports

When we think of sports injuries, we often turn our attention to contact sports like martial arts, football, or rugby, where the risk of injury may not always be within our direct control.

Common causes of injuries in contact sports can include dangerous or illegal tackles, which can lead to a leg fracture or a neck or spinal injury. In some cases, poor coaching advice when you’ve got an existing injury or condition may exacerbate your injury.

In contact sports, we make a risk-calculated decision to participate and coaches or instructors have a duty of care to ensure that we understand the risks and operate within appropriate safety guidelines.

So, when a court assesses a claim, they will need to determine if the injury has resulted from an error in judgement or is a known occupational hazard for that particular sport. When it comes to contact sports, the evidence should demonstrate that the injury resulted from intentional or reckless disregard for the injured person’s safety.

Non-contact sports

We tend to think that non-contact sports like tennis or golf are less risky, and on the whole, they are. However, there are plenty of non-contact sports that bear just as much risk as contact sports, such as horse riding, motorsports and extreme sports.

Injuries in non-contact sports can result from poorly maintained sports facilities, defective equipment or inconsiderate third parties. Accidents can lead to injuries such as serious head injuries, loss of limb, or spinal injuries.

Like contact sports, a non-contact sports injury claim can be pursued if the injury was through no fault of your own. Claims are often brought against the sporting ground or, in the case of sports such as skiing or snowboarding, against the resort operator, if it can be demonstrated that the operator did not have proper safety precautions.

How is injury compensation calculated?

The nature of your or your loved one’s injury, any loss of earnings and other expenses incurred are factored into the compensation claim. Your solicitor will typically collect evidence related to your injury to help you identify who is legally responsible and then support you with calculating the amount that you may be able to claim against the responsible party.

The amount of sports injury compensation you claim will vary according to the circumstances of your injury, and whether you are claiming general damages, special damages or a combination of the two.

What are my rights?

There are certain time limitations that apply to sports injury claims.

You have a right to claim sports injury compensation for any injury that may have occurred to you within the previous three years, where another person was to blame and that person owed you a duty of care.

In the case of minors, the three-year time limit does not apply. A minor’s parent or guardian may make a sports injury compensation claim on behalf of the minor at any time until they are 18 years old. A person who experienced a sports injury before they were 18 years old, may claim sports injury compensation on their own behalf, right up until they turn 21 years old.

What can I claim for?

The reality is that a sports injury can have a material impact on the quality of life for both the injured person and their family.

A sports injury claim can help to compensate you for loss of earnings if you’ve been unable to work during your recovery, or if you are unable to return to work as a result of the injury. You may also be able to claim for medical costs, both those already incurred and in the future, that are directly related to the injury.

Other costs that may be covered include travel costs, damage to your personal possessions and general pain or suffering.

What next?

Making the decision to pursue a sports injury claim may not be easy and it may not always be clear from the outset who was at fault. Here at Waldrons, our specialist team of personal injury solicitors has the expertise to guide you through every step of a sports injury compensation claim, so get in touch today and we can discuss your case.

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Last reviewed on 11/07/23 by Joseph Norton who is an Associate Director and Head of Compensation