As the sun comes out and more and more people head to their local parks and pitches, it's inevitable that sports injuries will happen, and most are completely unavoidable. A certain degree of risk is accepted when playing any sport and in most minor accidents like trips or falls, there is no one to blame.
Sometimes, however, the accident is not a natural or expected consequence of taking part in sport, or could have been avoided by simply taking the appropriate precautions. In this case, providing the injured party was not at fault, they may have the legal right to compensation for the injury, much like any other type of accident claim.
Sports injuries can sometimes lead to ongoing complications and significant treatment costs. As a result, the injured party may suffer a double financial loss as they face rising medical bills yet are unable to return to work because of their injury. Where this is the case, a specialist sports injury claims solicitor may be able to help recover lost earnings.
Usually, sporting venues and leisure facilities are required to have liability insurance to cover the cost of such accident claims.
The most common sports injury claims
Perhaps the most common sports injuries are attributable to badly maintained playing surfaces. For example, an unexpected divot or crack in a football pitch or tennis court can easily cause damage to the ankle or lower leg. Where maintenance staff have failed to identify and correct such hazards, there may be a legitimate accident claim.
Defective equipment that causes injury (or fails to prevent injury in the case of protective clothing) may also form the basis of a sports injury claim.
Sports injuries don't only take place outdoors. Every year, people are injured by unsafe or defective fitness equipment in gyms and leisure centres. The management of these facilities have a duty of care to ensure that equipment is as safe as possible. This means that if injury is caused in a gym and defective equipment is to blame, there may be a legitimate compensation claim.
Accident claims and spectators
Spectators, unlike players who may accept a certain degree of risk, should be able to enjoy sporting events without any fear of sustaining injury.
Spectators may be injured if, for example, seating is unsafe or insufficient lighting leads to a fall. Serious injuries can also occur where safety measures put in place for large sporting events are inadequate. One such safety measure is providing suitable crowd control to avoid potentially dangerous overcrowding.
Anyone thinking of making a sports accident claim should bear the following points in mind;
1. Always seek medical attention for the injury. Medical staff will be able to advise on appropriate treatment and how long recovery should take.
2. Collect any relevant information as soon as possible, this may include witness statements and, if possible, photographs.
3. Retain any relevant documents and receipts to accurately show the costs incurred.
4. When seeking legal advice, make sure the solicitor you talk to is reputable and experienced. They will often be able to handle claims on a no win no fee basis.