While sport carries certain risks, negligence is behind some injuries | Fieldfisher
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While sport carries certain risks, negligence is behind some injuries

Injuries are an unfortunate but fairly common occurrence for people playing sport, who inherently accept a certain level of risk by participating.

There are, however, instances where injuries result from negligence, misconduct or even defective equipment. In such cases, individuals who sustain sports-related injuries may be entitled to compensation.

Negligence occurs when someone fails to exercise the level of care and skill that a reasonable person would in similar circumstances. In the context of sports, negligence can arise from various situations, such as inadequate supervision, faulty equipment, dangerous playing conditions, failure to follow the rules or improper training techniques.

Sports organisations, coaches and other parties involved in sports activities owe a duty of care to participants. This duty requires them to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety and well-being of the players around them. If this duty is breached, and an injury occurs as a direct result, the injured party may have grounds for a claim.

To bring a successful claim, the Claimant must be able to prove they were owed a duty of care, that this duty was breached, that the breach caused injury and that they have suffered damage and loss as a result.

Many organisations and clubs require participants to sign liability waivers or consent forms before engaging in the sport or activity, but these forms do not absolve organisations or individuals from liability for gross negligence, and the circumstances of the accident and injuries sustained will be examined.

Sports-related injuries have been a hot topic this year, with the Rugby Football Union releasing new rules around tackling. The tackle height is set to be lowered to the waist from July 2023, following research which suggests that lowering the height of the tackle reduces the risk of 'head acceleration events'.

Proving negligence in sports cases can be challenging. The threshold for proving liability for negligence is high, and will turn on the specific and unique facts of each case. The court will consider many different factors such as the nature of the sport, the level of experience and skill of the players, the conduct of the players, and crucially whether the risk of injury was reasonably foreseeable.

The court will also consider the assumption of risk, which is that sport carries an inherent risk of injury which is accepted by participants. In litigation, it is crucial that the appropriate expert evidence is obtained in support of a claim that there has been a breach of duty. This will be sought from an expert in the relevant field, with the necessary experience and knowledge of the sport.

I am currently instructed to pursue a claim for a sports-injury, which resulted during a golf tournament and caused very serious and permanent injury to my client. I also have experience investigating claims for those injured during recreational activities such as bouldering.

Read more about our sport injury claims and hear from clients.

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