There is a certain degree of risk in all sports that is consented to. However, if you suffer a preventable injury as a result of negligence or by conduct that falls outside the rules of the game then you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
In Ireland popular sports such as Rugby, GAA and Soccer all carry a risk of injury when played within the rules of the game. However, when someone gets injured as a result of behaviour that is not within the rules, such as a punch to the face causing a broken jaw this falls outside the implied consent given by players and may give rise to a claim for compensation.
Sporting injuries can also happen as a result of faulty equipment or negligent instructions. For example, if you are in the gym and suffer injury because of poor advice from a fitness instructor or using badly maintained equipment then you may be able to make a claim for compensation.
How We Can Help
Our personal injury solicitors have vast experience in dealing with sports injury claims and will be able to explain the claims process to you in a way that is easy to understand. The claims process can vary but the general format that is adopted is as follows:
1. Free Initial Consultation – If you have been injured as a result of negligence in a sporting context you will first meet with one of our personal injury solicitors who will take your instructions on the circumstances of the injury. We will ask you to provide as much detail as possible to allow us to start the claims process.
2. Letter of Claim – Your solicitor will then send a letter to the relevant person or organisation setting out our allegations of negligence. They are then obligated to pass this letter on to their insurance company.
3. Medical Evidence – If you have been to the GP or Hospital as a result of the injury, we will obtain those notes and arrange for you to be examined by a specialist medical Consultant. The Consultant will provide a detailed report on your injuries, which will include the likely cause of the injuries and the period of estimated recovery.
4. Decision on Liability – The third-party insurance company will come back to us with their decision on liability within about 3 months from the date the initial letter of claim was sent. If liability is accepted, we will enter into settlement negotiations.
5. Court Proceedings – If liability is denied we will consult with our client and if we conclude that the case is worth pursuing, we will issue court proceedings and attempt to recover damages through the Courts. At this stage we will instruct a Barrister who specialises in personal injury claims and we will work together to build a case prior to your Court hearing. Court proceedings can also be issued in a case where liability has been admitted if we feel the compensation being offered by the insurance company is not sufficient. Our expert solicitors will advise clients on their options, but the final decision will always be made by the client and we will ensure that their wishes are carried out.
Sporting injuries are very common, and most will not give rise to a claim for compensation as there is implied consent to a degree of risk in any given sport. However, sometimes injuries occur that do not fall within the ambit of implied consent and are caused by negligence or recklessness. You will see below a hypothetical scenario where a sporting injury claim may typically arise:
Sarah is a 24-year-old who has received a gym membership for her birthday. On her first day in the gym she attends a personal training session with Robert who is a certified personal trainer and is the gym owner. During the session Robert instructed Sarah to perform a squat movement holding a heavy weight. Robert then went into the next room to check on another gym user and left Sarah to complete the exercise alone. Sarah, being an inexperienced gym user, performed the movement incorrectly and her knee popped out of place. Sarah fell to the ground, dropping the weights. When Robert came back into the room, he found Sarah in a great deal of pain and had to call an ambulance. Sarah attended the hospital for treatment.
Sarah then came to PA Duffy and Company for her initial consultation. She explained what happened and our personal injury solicitor agreed to send a letter of claim to Robert alleging that he acted negligently by failing to provide adequate supervision. Robert referred the matter to his insurance company who agreed that Robert was at fault and admitted liability for Sarah’s injuries.
Sarah’s solicitor then arranged an appointment for her to be seen by a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, who provided a report on the extent of her injuries. The Consultant concluded that she suffered a dislocated knee and the symptoms could persist for up to 18 months post-accident but should clear up eventually. The insurance company made a final offer of £15,000 and were unwilling to increase this. Sarah’s solicitor advised her that her injury may attract a higher level of compensation if they issued Court proceedings and allowed a Judge to adjudicate on the level of damages. Sarah agreed that this was the best option.
Sarah’s barrister put the case forward to the Judge who eventually concluded that the case was worth £21,000 when the full extent of the injury and Sarah’s loss of earnings were considered. The Judge also made an Order that all Sarah’s legal fees be discharged by the insurance company as is standard in cases of this nature. Sarah was delighted with this outcome.