Many athletes and spectators accept that participating in a sport will involve a certain amount of inherent risk of injury regardless of whether or not you are watching the sport or actively being involved in it.
The Civil Liability Act 2003 (QLD) does not apportion liability for a failure to warn of obvious risks in an activity where it is a matter of common knowledge that the risk is there, even if the chances of it occurring are low.
Simply put, an injured person is presumed to be aware of an obvious risk unless they can prove otherwise.
Similarly, there is no liability for injuries that arise from obvious risks of ‘dangerous recreational activities’ involving a significant degree of risk of physical harm.
However, there are a few exceptions to the legislation:
- Deliberate or reckless conduct
- Unexpected aggression/violence
- Unsafe facilities or equipment
- Inadequate supervision
You may have a sports injury claim for compensation if your accident and injury falls under one of these exceptions.
How Does This Apply To Me?
Are you an athlete?
An injured athlete who is paid could have their career prematurely ended because of a serious injury. This also means a loss of income and career earnings during their prime years. A seriously debilitating injury may also necessitate ongoing funds to compensate for continuing medical treatment, surgery or housekeeping and attendant care.
Some examples include:
- A Gold Coast athlete is injured on a field that has not been properly maintained.
- The referee fails to adhere to their duty of care to ensure the safety of the athletes.
- Participation in a league or recreational group that results in a serious injury.
Are you a Parent of a Child Athlete?
A significant amount of trust is required on the sports organization for a parent to allow their children to participate in a sport. Breaching this trust and having a child suffering an injury can bring an emotional backlash on the parents. Yet parents are often reluctant to bring an action against the party responsible, especially if it is a school, minor acquaintance, neighbour, etc.
Parents have a responsibility to protect the legal interests of their children as well and may not realize that most professional and government organizations may have sufficient liability insurance to protect children if they are injured in an accident.
Other situations where negligence can cause a serious sport or recreational injury may include:
- Unsafe playing field or sport facilities.
- Being inadequately trained or supervised by an incompetent instructor.
- Poor supervision of their physical education (PE) teacher.
- A toddler slipping on a slippery or poorly maintained playing surface.
- Reckless or aggressive behavior by another child.
- Inadequate training or supervision for recreational staff or other athletes.
- Medical negligence in giving advice or treatment.
- Failure of a regulatory body to take reasonable steps to prevent or mitigate the inherent risks of a sport in highly regulated sports such as judo or boxing.
Are you a Spectator?
Occupiers have a duty of care to ensure the reasonable safety of guests on their premises. They must take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable risks of harm.
Similarly, facility owners and managers also have this duty of care to protect its participants and spectators. They may fail this duty of care in many ways including:
- Failing to provide adequate lighting in high traffic areas during a game.
- Failing to reasonably control the behaviour of their athletes or staff.
- Being vicariously liable for the actions of a negligent or reckless employee.
What Can I Expect From A Sports Injury Claim?
It is important to gather evidence to support your sports injury claim such as witness statements from the teammates, other players and preferably the game official. Adequate medical evidence to substantiate the injuries and losses is another important piece of evidence. It is important to find medical professionals highly experienced in the area of medicine relating to your injury.
There are a number of legal avenues to pursue for compensation including: common law, statute, contract law, workers compensation and public liability.
Sports facilities, employers or public facilities such as schools will most likely have liability insurance that may bear some of the legal costs and disbursements if your claim is successful.
What Kind of Sport Injuries Are Covered?
Each sport carries different amounts of risk depending on the nature of that sport. The courts will apply a different standard of care for each unique circumstance. Compensation may be paid out to victims who have suffered an injury due to negligence. Some of the possible injuries may include:
- Cartilage tears
- Sports Hernia
- Open Wounds
- Hip Injuries and Fractures
- Broken Arms and other Limbs
- Groin Injury
- Serious Secondary Psychological
- Spinal injuries
- Cervical or lumbar disc injuries
- Quadriplegia or Paraplegia
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Musculoskeletal Injuries and Diseases
- Spleen Injuries
- Internal Organ Damage (e.g. internal bleeding)
- Injuries (Depression, Phobia, Agoraphobia, etc.)
- Deep Vein Thrombosis
- Compartment Syndrome
- Leg Injuries
- Bone Fractures
- Eye Injuries
- Loss of Hearing
- Joint Dislocations
- Rotator Cuff Injury
- Tendon Tears
- Sprains and Strains
- Whiplash Injuries
- Fractured Clavicle
- Neurological and Nerve Damage
What Kind of Compensation Can I Claim?
A successful claim may lead to compensation that can include:
- Medical and Rehabilitation Expenses
- Loss of Wages and Potential Earnings
- Domestic Assistance
- Attendant Care
- Medical or Equipment Aids, and Housing Modifications
- General Damages such as Pain & Suffering
What Is Contributory Negligence?
Contributory Negligence is an available defence that limits the amount of damages you can claim in court if it can be proven that you contributed to your own injury through your own negligence such as failing to properly wear the prescribed safety equipment for a sport.
What Sports Are Covered in a Sports Injury Claim?
Technically, all sports can be covered by a sports injury claim. However, the success of this claim depends on the unique factors in the case such as the degree of injury, how the accident was caused and who was responsible for the accident. Some of the most common sports where a negligent injury may arise include:
- Roller Sports
- Motor Sports
- Horseback Riding
- Racquet Sports (Badminton, Squash, Tennis, Ping Pong, etc.)
- Football, Rugby League, Soccer, AFL, Touch Football
- Gymnastics, Acrobatics, Trampolining
- Water Sports (e.g. Swimming, Boating, Surfing, Fishing, Scub Diving, etc.)
- Ice and Snow Sports (e.g. Skiing, Snowboarding, Skating)
- Martial Arts
Choose the right team
Be diligent when choosing a personal injury specialist. The best way to find out if a personal injury lawyer suits you and your claim is first by speaking with them. Most personal injury law firms offer a free, no obligation consultation.
East Coast Injury Lawyers is led by accredited specialists in personal injury who are experienced in representing both plaintiffs and insurance defence. How can this help you? Simply contact us today by calling us at 1300 720 544 or filling out our no obligation case review form. We also have a personal injury firm in Gold Coast. Speaking to one of our lawyers is the best way to determine how East Coast Injury Lawyers can help you in your claim.