The Ministry of Justice this week announced (as part of the Autumn Statement) their intention to press on with their whiplash reforms with some changes to their key measures. The announcement has generated a lot of talking points and reaction from both the insurance sector and the legal sector over how to move foreword. Sincere Law has compiled a short summary of the changes and how they may affect you as a claimant.
The intention to either reduce OR scrap soft tissue injuries (i.e. whiplash)
Injuries which last longer than 6 – 9 months will be classified according to their length of recovery
Minor injuries (which are classed as 6 – 9 months) will have a £400 damages limit and £25 for the physical impact whereas injuries that last between 19 – 24 months will be worth £3,600
The small claims limit will be at least £5,000 and could rise higher
Offers being made before a claimant has a medical will be banned
Other measures are also being debated and will be considered following a further consultation within the department. Some of the measures above and the further measures (listed below) will be put to representatives from the insurance and legal industries to decide what is in the best interest of the country, its citizens and the economy. The further measures considered include:
A requirement for referral sources to be included on claim forms
Requiring earlier notifications of claiming (much likes Sweden’s model which requires anybody injured in accident to go and seek medical treatment within 72 hours or be ineligible to claim)
Reducing rehab costs via vouchers and defendants arranging their own rehabilitation
What it means for me?
So what do all the above points mean to you? Well in terms of serious injury covered by Sincere Law, thankfully not too much. Whenever you suffer a serious injury either at work, on the road or out and about you will likely need medical attention right away and will also have damages far exceeding £5,000. As a result serious injuries will most probably see no difference apart from the requirement to claim earlier rather than biding your time.
The main issues will affect those with “minor” injuries and will force all claimants to act quicker from accident to legal action. The insurance industry is predictably satisfied with the reforms although the reported savings in premiums to consumers resulting from these proposals would be a paltry £40 (not a lifesaving amount).
The legal industry has since pushed for insurers to pledge that this amount of savings will be passed on to consumers but uptake on the pledge has been slow to uptake currently. The legal industry has been looking to prevent the reforms for some time and continues to fight against them with the “Access to Justice” campaign.
Seeking legal help
If you have suffered an injury and need legal help yourself please call one of Sincere Law’s experts on 0800 092 2896 for free, impartial, conscientious advice. We specialise in serious injuries and know that the recovery time and aftercare needed to get through a serious injury case is far greater than normal personal injuries. With that in mind we ensure we have a network of qualified specialists across the country to deal with medical, psychological, financial and emotional needs following serious injury for the sufferer and their family.
To get advice on how to proceed with a serious injury claim for you or a family member, either call today or fill in our contact form to let us know about the injury. From there we can call you when convenient to discuss your best course of action.
48% of car accidents in winter are due to cars skidding. When the temperature drops, roads become an ice rink in patches. Tyres lose grip and the surface of the road can become a danger risk if drivers are not in control.
The best advice many motor industry experts can give on avoiding skidding on icy roads is to switch to cold weather tyres. Winter tyres tend to have a more ‘aggressive’ grip with more cuts in the tread and biting edges that better grip the ground.
Industry adviser ‘Which?’ suggests that winter tyres work very well at temperatures under 7 degrees Celsius, adapting to wet and icy conditions by not only gripping better but by spreading the force of traction over a greater area, providing a more stable base.
When cars slide on the road, it is difficult for a driver to regain control. Other drivers in the area may also skid and slide if they need to take evasive action, potentially setting off a domino effect involving multiple cars. Even on a small residential street, a single car struggling to grip can risk injury for its owner and any passers by (see video below).
Not an excuse
Unfortunately as treacherous as ice and snow is on the road, causing damage or harm to another person because the road is icy is often not an excuse. When conditions are poor, it is expected that drivers adapt accordingly to the road surface. This means hanging further back than normal, driving slower and paying particular attention to your surroundings. By not adhering to this you may be seen as acting negligently should you collide with another vehicle or person.
Government guidelines suggest not travelling in snow and ice if possible. It is not illegal but heavily advised. Should you travel on wet, icy roads the guidelines are to keep a large distance from any vehicle in front, not to make any sharp movements and to drive “at slow speed in as high a gear as possible” to keep control.
What If I’m Hurt?
Icy roads escalate the risks of collisions. It also poses a serious risk to pedestrians as an icy pavement can make walking at the roadside treacherous.
If you, a family member or friend have found yourself injured during these conditions, contact Sincere Law to see what our experts can do for you. We deal in serious injuries and understand winter is a particularly high risk time of year for these.
We are experienced at arranging the extra care and attention required to help recover from serious injury problems. Recovery can take months or years to overcome, but we will be there every step of the way.
To chat to one of our advisers for free, impartial, conscientious advice please call 0800 092 2896 (lines open weekdays from 9am to 7pm) for more details. Alternatively you can get in touch using our contact form on our website.
The incident, which was filmed on the cab’s dash cam, caught the moment that Mr Kroker paid no attention to the stationary traffic as he checked his phone. His vehicle, which was travelling at 50mph, hit a Vauxhall Zafira, that in-turn shunted a Corsa underneath another HGV in front of it. The Corsa was reduced to “a third of its usual size” killing 45 year old Tracey Houghton, her two sons Ethan (13) and Joshua (11) and her step daughter Aimee (11).
The judge residing over the proceedings, Maura McGowen, said that Mr Kroker “might as well have had his eyes shut”. Mr Kroker pleaded guilty to all counts and was told he would receive no leniency for his actions. He will now spend at least five years behind bars, as part of a ten year sentence.
The family of the victims don’t believe the sentence is an adequate deterrent or warning to mobile phone users behind the wheel. The mother of 11 year old Aimee who died in the accident told reporters “The 10-year sentence will not ease our pain and suffering, nor do we believe it will send a strong enough message to those who lack the self-restraint to not use a mobile phone when driving.”
If you search for examples of crashes or incidents that have been caused by a motorist using a mobile phone whilst driving, you will find plenty of results. These incidents, as displayed in the accident caused by Mr Kroker, often have the potential to cause serious injury to other motorists.
The question on the lips of those affected by a mobile related collision will often be “was it worth risking a life?” Some of the common reasons given by motorists for checking their mobile phones while driving include changing music, boredom, to send a text or to make a call. Each of these reasons are 100% trivial, when you weigh up the risk of injury that being distracted from driving carries. In Mr Kroker’s case, that risk took the lives of four people, three of which were young children and that is something he will now have to live with for the rest of his life.
“What if I’m injured?”
There are legal repercussions expected when a driver is reckless behind a wheel. The police will often file criminal charges but you are also able to ensure any injuries you, your family or friends suffer are treated seriously.
It is very easy for distracted drivers to hit cars at faster speeds, potentially causing more harm as they are not monitoring speed, road positioning or checking for hazards. In the case of a serious injury a specialist legal firm like ourselves will be required to look deeply into the situation and arrange much more than just a financial settlement. An injured person may need surgery, rehabilitation, physiotherapy, counselling and a host of other services.
Here at Sincere Law, we have a network of specialists across the country dedicated to helping serious accident victims and their families attempt to put their lives back together as best they can.
If you feel this could be something that you, your family or friends could use following an incident on the road, you can call in confidence on 0800 092 2896 for free, impartial advice on how best to move forward in your circumstances.
If you would prefer to contact online we also have a contact form where you can leave details. We can then call you when it convenient to talk about the incident and what you may need from us.
You may remember our blog back in February regarding the recalls for faulty tumble dryers which were causing fires. One such instance has led to a tower block in London catching fire recently, all down to a single tumble dryer.
Tumble dryers require care from owners to make sure they work in good condition and do not pose any electrical or fire risks when around the house. Our aforementioned blog made sure to point out necessary checks to keep them in good running order including:
Emptying the filter between loads
Giving the vents room to pump air
Ensuring the ventilation pipe has no kinks or dents
Ensuring loads are suitably sized
Not leaving on overnight
If one or more of these guidelines are not followed, a tumble dryer can turn from a useful tool to being a very large fire risk. This risk is what caused the fire (video above) to start in the block of flats and as many of us know, fires move very quickly under the right conditions.
If the injury caused was not related to the fault which has been identified as being dangerous, then it could be that you were at least in some way contributory to the incident. Thankfully with the fire in the tower block, nobody was injured.
If however anybody had been caught in the blaze and suffered burn injuries or even worse, as a result of somebody not giving the tumble dryer airing room, not keeping a filter clean or overloading the machine, it can be argued the user has heavily assisted the cause.
If you contribute towards a product becoming dangerous, it is less likely you will be awarded full compensation if any, which means having a product repaired or switched after learning of the recall is the best case scenario for safety purposes.
If you, a friend or a family member has suffered from an injury when using a recalled product, be it burn injury, cut, bruise, break or other, you can get in touch with the team at Sincere Law to help plan what course of action is available.
We deal with serious injuries and as such have experts including doctors, physiotherapists, psychotherapists and financial planners able to help plan not just the immediate future, but the long term stability of an injury sufferer and their family needs long term.
If you would like advice on how to go about resolving a serious injury and help plan the required treatment, rehabilitation and financial planning in the long term, you can get in touch by calling our team on 0800 092 2896. We understand that serious injuries require much more time and effort than a normal injury, and that’s why we exist at Sincere Law.
A late trial has begun to test a drug which could limit the damage done by traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Conducted by pharma company Vsopharm, the test hopes to show the drug can limit secondary problems that come with brain injuries.
Most TBIs require families and friends of the sufferer to take a large role in the care and welfare post injury. This could include handling their finances if they have suffered cognitive problems and helping to complete basic daily tasks. Doing so however puts a lot of strain on those that do help; financial, emotional and physical.
Sincere Law’s job with any traumatic brain injury is to assemble a team of experts able to properly plan ahead for the sufferer and their family to reduce the physical, emotional and financial strain long term following injury.
The new drug being tested has been given the name VAS203 or “Ronopterin” has been enrolled in third stage testing with first estimated results scheduled initially to be mid 2019.The drug’s ingredients assist the production of key enzymes which help brain and body functions.
Phase 2 of the testing was successful following delivery in 6 and 12 month trials ensuring it showed improvements to patients in both the long and short term. The third phase of testing will see VAS203 being given to 232 patients suffering moderate to severe TBI in 35 European countries including Austria, France, Germany, Spain and the UK among others.
Vasopharmss CEO, Mr Christian Wandersee said of the third stage of testing:
“The phase III trial is a key test to confirm our belief in the clinical efficacy of ronopternin (VAS203) and its role in the treatment of moderately to severely injured closed head traumatic brain injury patients and leads us another step closer to bringing a drug for a highly unmet need to market. We believe VAS203 will provide physicians with a real opportunity to improve long-term outcomes for patients with this devastating condition.”
For more information on brain injuries including TBI, you can visit our brain injury page here. Sincere Law are specialists in serious injury cases. If you, a friend or family member have suffered a serious injury as a result of negligence you can call 0800 092 2896 for free, impartial, confidential, conscientious advice from one of our team.
We also have a contact page where you can get in touch directly. We ensure a professional service with links to the best medical, financial and psychological assistance in the UK. If you need advice on planning through a serious injury, call Sincere Law today.
Companies guilty of committing corporate manslaughter are set to face tougher fines in an attempt to make the workplace a much safer and better regulated environment.
The Cost of Corporate Manslaughter
The Sentencing Council revealed recently that judges are being advised to impose heavier fines (in relation to size) on organisations guilty of committing corporate manslaughter.
Previous legislation, the “Corporate Manslaughter & Homicide Act 2007” doesn’t establish an upper limit to penalties. The new guidelines, however, push to take a very tough stance on guilty parties; suggesting companies with £50 million or more turnover should be fined £20 million and up to £10 million for fatal Health & Safety offences.
The 2007 act establishes what duty of care an employer owes to its employees. Legally every employee has the right to expect their employer to have taken all necessary steps and followed all necessary processes to ensure their safety. This counts not only for higher risk industries, like construction and manufacturing, but to any working environment.
What Is Corporate Manslaughter?
The act of failing to keep an employee safe, resulting in an accident at work, causing a fatality is the literal definition of corporate manslaughter. When one employee is instructed by another in a higher position to carry out a task that results in a fatality, the company is held responsible if that person’s instructions are in a working capacity. All that is required is that the grossly negligent party is in control of the company affairs relating to the incident; for example a foreman on a construction site, is the company representative portioning out tasks to the other employees.
Unfortunately, cases of corporate manslaughter have increased in recent years, including a spike of 40% between 2012 and 2013. Cases can take years to resolve but usually receive stringent fines as a harsh warning to ensure the same incidents are never repeated. This year saw the 11th prosecution for Corporate Manslaughter since the introduction of the legislation.
One recycling company convicted of corporate manslaughter
What The Changes Mean?
What do the new guidelines mean for companies and employees? Coming into force on the 1st February 2016, the new guidelines aim to serve as a larger deterrent than previously, to companies allowing Health & Safety processes to be neglected during their day to day activity.
Given the recent upturn in convictions for corporate manslaughter, the new fines will hopefully go some way to bringing about a downturn, ensuring companies take as much care and attention to employee wellbeing as is expected.
A matrix of costs has been developed to set a starting point based on the size of the company committing the offence. Starting points are:
Micro – Turnover less than £2 million
Small – Between £2 million & £10 million turnover
Medium – Between £10 million & £50 million turnover
Large – Turnover greater than £50 million
The costs provided by the matrix are not exhaustive of company size and not definitive totals, as companies with much larger turnovers than £50 million will require individual consideration. The hope for employees and the industry is that the fines will make enough of a financial impact that corporate manslaughter will become a thing of the past.
Does This Affect Fatal Injury Claims?
For families of anybody affected by corporate manslaughter, the injury claims process hasn’t been affected negatively. The new guidelines are designed to be separate from private litigation and are a more official form of punishment alongside what a family can claim for the loss of their relative due to negligence.
Fatal injury claims as a result of an accident at work will remain the same taking into account what a grieving family is owed as a result of a fatality. Sincere Law have been involved in cases involving fatalities at work in the past that have also seen hearings regarding corporate manslaughter. Sincere Law Catastrophic Injury Partner Chris Walker agrees that the new fines are a good way of reducing the amount of fatal injuries at work, stating “while the claims process isn’t affected by the guidelines, it is a step in the right direction to attempt to reduce and eradicate the amount of fatalities coming from corporate negligence. Given the extreme emotional pressure it puts on the immediate family of the deceased (which Sincere Law has experienced first-hand in the past) we welcome any legislative changes that make the workplace a safer environment.”
Making a Fatal Injury Claim
Should one of your family or friends suffer a fatal injury at work or otherwise as the result of a negligent action by another party, we would encourage you to claim as an injury claim is one of the best ways to ensure the guilty party comes to justice. We understand a fatal injury claim is a very delicate process, and we advise you take as much time as you need before starting a claim (bearing in mind the 2 year limit to making a claim following the incident).
Making a claim is a very simple process which we can guide you through as well as giving you the opportunity to see specialists if required. We have dedicated, experienced Solicitors able to explain any aspect of a case whenever required. If you do want to get in contact about a fatal injury claim (or any catastrophic injury) you can contact us every day from 8am to 9pm on 0800 092 2896 or use our contact page here. One of our friendly operatives will be waiting to give you honest, impartial advice.
We sincerely hope the new guidelines will reduce corporate manslaughter cases to zero. Only time will tell, but the new tough stance is the first step in fully securing those in a hazardous workplace.
No two injury claims are the same. Along with that sentiment, there is no set timescale applicable to every individual injury case. When you make a serious injury claim with Sincere Law, we can offer reliable estimates specific to your injury, drawing on our years of experience and knowledgeable team.
Serious injury cases can take time to settle. The combination of calculating costs based on damages, determining liability and thinking about what assistance may be required in the future following the incident all need taking into account. What we are able to offer to help a claim conclude as quickly as possible is to offer you valuable tips on what you can do to reduce your claim time.
Your claim will use all facts put forward including the extent of damage both physically, mentally and financially. Serious injury cases can often be complicated so any simplification of the process is welcomed. Take a look at our 6 ways you can reduce the time of your claim:
1. Seek medical attention right away (before claiming)
When you have a serious accident, the most important procedure to follow even before a claim is considered is to ensure your wellbeing and safety. An injury that requires medical treatment should never be left to chance. Often when we get injuries we try to ‘soldier on’ through any pain until it’s too late. With serious injuries this could result in complications difficult to rectify if left untreated. Given the length of time recovery could take and money potentially lost by taking time away from work, it is never worth to put off seeing a specialist following injury. All treatment you receive will go in your medical record which we are able to cross reference when you make your claim.
2. Provide evidence
Following an accident and after receiving medical treatment you can begin to start thinking about the claim itself. If your injury was suffered as the result of an environmental factor that could have been avoided, it is good to get photographic evidence of the scene of the incident. It’s also beneficial to get photographic evidence of your injury and (if applicable) any damage to your property from the incident such as you car for example. Having irrefutable evidence helps dismiss liability disputes and further supports any doctor’s reports on your injury. However, don’t put yourself at risk trying to get evidence at the scene, always remember to seek medical attention first.
3. Claim early
There are legal limitations on how long you can wait before making a claim. Legally, 3 years from the injury is considered to be the adequate time span to begin a claim. That same 3 years applies to families of those injured in fatal accidents. In cases of industrial disease this becomes 3 years from when the victim would have realised they had contracted the disease. After the accepted 3 years has elapsed you would unfortunately not be able to claim compensation.
Claiming is not always something people do immediately as they may have worries about going to a Solicitor, but our advice would be to get in touch as soon as possible. With no win no fee being Sincere Law’s standard practice, there is no risk to starting a claim. Beginning a case shortly after an injury allows easier verification of your evidence such as injury itself, the scene of the accident and identification and communication with the third party.
4. State all facts truthfully
Sincere Law must stress the importance of telling the truth regarding any claim. To not disclose details that could affect the case can result in requiring to pay a fee for the case as it is in breach of the no win no fee agreement. Sincere Law have years of experience and a dedicated team who always work to get you the best result possible and we can only do so with a full and honest statement.
If you give as much detail as possible about your incident, we can verify the facts much easier. A full and frank description of the injury can prevent other parties from objecting as to how events unfolded. A clear factual statement can also halt disputes once proven; this works in conjunction with medical reports and photographic evidence as suggested earlier. Withholding information can also be just as detrimental as being untruthful.
5. Respond promptly
During the litigation process you will be assigned a dedicated case manager who can explain the entire day to day activity of your case; from contacting the third party to discussing damages and compilation of all paperwork. During your case you may be required to sign documents such as your own witness statement. We often send these out to you as soon as possible. To move your case forward it is vital that if we send you a document, you read and sign it before sending it back as soon as you can. If you ever feel you need an update on your claim’s progress or want advice on filling in any forms sent, we are available every day. Your case manager will never hesitate to let you know where the case is, what is currently happening and what your next steps will be.
If your claim has involved you replacing property such as a vehicle, losing property you can’t afford to replace or even taking time away from work that affects your earnings, it would be wise to keep a log of your costs in the form of receipts or a log of figures to inform us exactly what the injury has cost you.
Disputing costs becomes very difficult for any third party if you can provide a straightforward list of costs. It gives us a framework to build from when we negotiate any settlement. We understand not all losses are easily displayable financially but whatever is can go a long way towards speeding up a claim if a strong estimate is given from the outset.
If you take on board the suggestions, your claim will be resolved as smoothly as possible with a chance of fewer interruptions to proceedings. With good evidence and a solid statement, you will find often that there will be no disputes of liability or the extent of damages.
If you have (or a family member) been involved in a serious accident and wish to get some advice on how to make a claim and proceed with one, you can always call us for free, impartial advice on 0800 092 2896. Our offices are open 7 days a week from 8am – 9pm and we’d be happy to take your call. We also have a contact form via the website should you wish to enquire online.
October 21st 2015. If Back to the Future II is to be correct in it’s prophecy, we will very shortly be exposed to Jaws 19, wearing two ties and the most anticipated of inventions, the hoverboard. We haven’t managed to fulfill these prophecies as of yet, but what we do have is a new invention that allows us to move around with ease. A new segway style product labelled the hoverboard has gone from obscurity, to being a “must have” in just 1 year.
The rise of the hoverboard
A small foray into Google Trends will tell you that before March of 2014, the term “hoverboard” was a seldom searched term, with the only real interest being from fans of the Back to the Future movie franchise. However, interest has suddenly spiked and has been on an extreme upward curve ever since. The most recent spike in interest happened in the summer of this year, when celebrities around the world started posting videos of their brand new toys around the house.
Kendall Jenner doing laps
The offspring of the segway, the “self balancing two wheeled board”, originally became a reality in 2013, with the invention of the “Smart S1”, a board designed in China. Within months of the initial launch the online giant, Alibaba, had many listings of almost exact replicas from independent companies who were making copycat varieties of the S1.
Overseas in the US, a company labelled PhunkeeTree decided to make their own version and market it to the states, creating the PhunkeeDuck, which gained popularity by appearing on the much watched late night TV chat show “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon. The board gained widespread popularity and it was not long before we began to see British Youtubers and celebrities place their own videos using them online (with varying degrees of success). In the UK the popular name for the boards are “Swegway” and “Hoverboard” and the product us quickly becoming popular, with sales rising month on month.
Joe Weller tries the Swegway
In the UK, the popularity of the boards has led the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to consider the legal status surrounding them. While they are usually bought as personal treats or gifts, which are normally used around the house, some owners have been using them as transportation out and about, once they have learned how to control their board.
Authorities have taken the stance that due to a law aged at around 180 years old, a ban has been put in place for the use of them outside of private land. Law states that because they contain a motor, they are powered vehicles and therefore usage is not allowed on pavements. In conjunction with this it has also been determined they are not safe enough to use on a road, with their top speed at being less than 5mph on average and the precarious standing balance required to pilot one.
The banning order has created a backlash from the public, as sales of the boards have actually increased rapidly since the announcement was made from the CPS earlier in October. On some websites that sell the boards, traffic increased by “215% within 24 hours” such was the increase in interest.
The police are advising people to think of the safety implications of using hoverboards in public, while users are asking what the harm is of taking theirs onto the pavement for a quick spin.
Fun vs. Accountability
Arguments in favour of the hoverboard being usable outside of your house revolve around the common sense use of the alleged ‘vehicle’ out in public. The hoverboard is seen by many as a toy and no different to other methods of transport that are similar, which have also in the past seen spikes in interest, including bikes, skateboards and scooters. Former Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Lembit Opik supports the calls to lift the ban (which includes conventional segways) stating “They are immensely environmentally friendly. They help people who have limited mobility. You are high, so are highly visible, and for short journeys in cities, which are clogged up not least because of insane investment in cycle lanes, Segways are in many ways going to be faster than cars.” He infamously participated in a segway protest outside the houses of parliament back in 2010 to challenge the law banning them from the streets.
The BBC asked the public what they thought about them with the feedback being mostly positive from those using the boards. Remarking how useful they can be, one woman commented “I think it exercises your muscles, so I use it to work out. I play with my niece on it. You can dance with it – I’ve taken it to a club. I’ve ridden it in 4in heels”. One pensioner thinking it could be a very useful tool for the elderly, said “I think it would be great for getting around supermarkets”.
In opposition, there are fears that due to their unstable nature, being around on them in public could lead to accidents involving other pedestrians, cyclists, bikers and motorists. There has been plenty of video evidence online of people trying to learn how to use the boards but struggling to properly control them. If a user was not 100% in control around a public road and accidentally veered off or fell from their board, the effect of what could happen could be catastrophic.
An added fear is of the reliability of the product itself. Badly designed versions of Hoverboards have been known to catch fire while charging, triggering a very serious product liability issue. While these types of incidents so far have been limited, the rapid growth of buys has lead to more incidents (such as this one in New York) potentially manifesting.
The battleground is between common sense vs. risk of injury. Many people are calling for the hoverboard ban to be lifted as they carry the same risks as a bike, scooter or skateboard; while on the other hand, others do not want hoverboard owners colliding with them while walking or driving, creating a potential serious injury claim minefield as legality, liability and duties of care will all potentially be disputed in each incident.
The facts ‘for’
• Seen as a toy by users • Very similar to scooters, bikes and skateboards (all legal) • Cannot travel fast enough to cause serious incidents • Common sense usage will keep everyone safe
The facts ‘against’
• Law states it is a vehicle due to motor • Unsteady driving position could be a source of accidents • Board is difficult to control properly and prone to veering off course • Ability to cause bruising/damage pedestrians are hit • Currently carries no requirement for safety equipment adding to risk level
The hoverboard ban, your say
The ban on hoverboards has caused plenty of discussion online, including a petition to have it overturned by the CPS. Tweets on both sides are still being exchanged; here is a selection of your opinions on the matter:
I don't understand the ban on 'hoverboards' when scooters, electric bikes, electric kids toys, mobility scooters etc are all allowed.
You’ll have seen in the news recently, plenty of stories regarding professional athletes suffering particularly bad injuries, affecting their careers. Stories making the most headlines include Luke Shaw’s leg break playing in the Champions League for Manchester United, Leinster’s Kevin McLaughlin being forced to retire from rugby union as a result of a concussion and potential changes to the rules for the Rugby World Cup to lower the risk of concussions. While all these instances happened at the top level of sports, they are quite relevant to non professionals who suffer injuries during a sporting event in their own lives.
Luke Shaw suffered a serious injury in a recent game, potentially affecting the rest of his career
Governing bodies in sports
Injuries in sports can come as a result of more than just foul play or an accident like tackling. Everything about a competitive sports environment must be regulated to ensure that all who are taking part are as safe as they can be. This goes for any level.
Each sport and country has governing bodies, all insured and all with rules to keep serious injuries to a minimum. Even sports involving heavy contact, such as fighting sports like boxing, kickboxing and MMA, all have governing bodies to regulate participation.
Rules set out by these organisations will always state how a game must be played, the environment to be played in and the facilities required to meet the standards necessary for players, officials and any spectators. This is fundamental for any sport to reduce accidents on or off the playing surface. Failing to meet these standards can result in liability if an accident does occur. This applies down to the lowest tiers of sporting activity, including playing for teams on a local park.
Sporting Injuries to the non pro
Using the example of a Sunday league football team, the playing surface is most likely to be either a public recreational area, such as a local park, which is kept by a council, or a rented private playing field owned by a landlord. The state of the pitch is in the hands of the owners. Should it be improperly cared for or poorly maintained, it could result in injury, for which the pitch owner is liable.
Cases of serious injury in these settings have previously included players falling on glass that had been discarded and even in one case (one of our own) a player committing to a tackle and hitting a stump of a former goalpost, which seriously damaged his leg.
In all levels of any sport, contact or none, there will always be guidelines to follow, whether you are part of a team, alone, officiating or a spectator. If these guidelines are breached and have caused you a serious injury, you would be within your right to seek justice for what could have been prevented.
Am I protected?
What many sporting bodies can provide, as a minimum, is insurance when you register with them. There are usually insurance guarantees by becoming a member of an organisation. If you were to be injured performing in that sport, you would able to receive some form of compensation. However, there are usually caveats to every policy and you may find your injury falls outside the realms of what the organisation will provide should you get injured. They also often do not provide the same insurance benefits for officials and spectators.
With injuries in sport, as with any other serious injury, if you are unfortunate and sustain a preventable injury during participation, down to another player, unsafe practices, the condition of the surface, facilities or other as a result of a negligent action, you are protected.
A claim for negligence can be brought against any person responsible for a preventable injury within a sporting activity. Sincere Law have experienced many cases involving faulty equipment, poor surfaces and dangerous actions during a game, which has resulted in somebody suffering a serious injury.
Sporting injuries aren’t always as the result of foul play, whatever injury occurs, if somebody is negligent then you can take action!
Aftermath of sporting injuries
Dependent on the severity, a sporting injury can have life changing effects. At the top levels of sport athletes have better access to physiotherapy and guaranteed contracts, which assist their recovery when injured. At the grass roots levels of sport this is not as easily accessible.
When a person is injured participating in sport at grass roots level, they can suffer the same common injuries as those at the top levels including:
Unfortunately, for most of us, we don’t have the time or resources to commit our lives to rehabbing an injury as sports professionals have. We have jobs, families and lives to lead, so the resulting injuries may take longer to heal or even completely affect our future, as our bodies are not adapted to recover as a top sportsman would be.
Using an example of a broken leg in football, it is a common saying on the terraces that a player is usually “never the same player” after recovering from a broken leg. While a player may return and play regularly after their recovery, it is often found that players will struggle to compete at exactly the same level and begin to drop down divisions much quicker than a normal aging professional would do. Even with the advantages of dedicated physiotherapy, time to train or gaining match time in reserve games, a player will likely still not perform the same and could even be mentally affected when they rejoin the sport full time.
Compare the above example with a member of the public, not trained specifically for that sport to play professionally, with a job, a household to maintain and a regular income. The same situation can easily transform into a more long term, costly situation. Not having access to as an extensive a physiotherapy regime, an average person’s injury may not fully recover and could even hamper their movements in future life, possibly halting involvement in their favourite sports.
A serious sporting injury can also require time off work if the injury renders them housebound, in some cases needing care or assistance around the house. These are costs which the average person may not be able to foot. If their injuries are as a result of negligence while playing sports, they are able to get help in the form of compensation.
Athletes have the ability to utilise top physiotherapy for an extended time unlike the general public
My next steps
If you have experienced an injury during a sporting event as a result of a negligent action (and remember, it isn’t always about tackling or even being a participant), then you have the ability to claim for your losses, including time away from work, lifestyle adaptations, medical bills and other associated costs.
Sincere Law are specialists in serious injury claims and we know sporting injuries can often be life changing. We have a team of dedicated solicitors waiting to talk to you, offering free, impartial advice and we are able to walk you through the claims process.
Your first step following a sports injury is to get in touch and see what we can do for you. You can talk to us either by calling 0800 092 2896, texting us on 89298 or by filling in our contact form here. We pride ourselves on being open and honest about what we can do for you with no pressure. We also offer a ‘no win no fee’ service removing your risk from starting a claim.
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