What Do The Injury Proposals Mean To You?

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.

Sincere Law looks at the whiplash reforms

The measures

  • 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

Whiplash injury claims

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.

Get a Grip On Road Safety This Winter

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.

Driving in winter, winter tyres recommended

Creation Traction

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.

Improve road safety in winter with special tyres

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.

Kidney Cancer misdiagnosed as food intolerance

GPs and other medical professionals are being urged not to hesitate with referring patients for further assessment, after a Southport primary school teacher, whose stomach illness was initially diagnosed as a food intolerance, died of kidney cancer.

“Cut out bread”

Merseyside teacher, Miss Claire Tomlinson, tragically lost her seven month battle against kidney cancer. However the circumstances could have been very different had she been sent for further tests when she visited her GP. Instead she was led her to believe that the pain in her stomach was simply a food allergy, with her GP advising her to “cut out bread” as well as cutting out other food types from her diet, last September.

Five months after the initial assessment and after months of further excruciating pain. Miss Tomlinson was finally diagnosed with kidney Cancer. Tragically, by this point, the cancer had already spread to both her lungs and her brain, further limiting her chances of survival. After an attempted course of chemotherapy (which was unsuccessful) she sadly succumbed to the disease and passed away.

“Best to test”

Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident, as other cancer victims have had similar experiences, leading to massive complications in treatment. The case has prompted calls for medical professionals to not be worried about referring patients on for further testing, should there be any doubt at all about the cause of their problems.

Cancer shares symptoms with many other, less deadly illnesses like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and food intolerances like Miss Tomlinson was identified as having. In her case it took further pain escalation and a private body scan (not one prescribed by her GP) to reveal the extent of the damage.

Her parents believe that the care given could have been a little more urgent based on what she was telling her GP. In a statement her parents admitted ‘We’re not trying to say she could have been cured, we just think that the treatment should have been more urgent.”

“’Once you’ve alerted a doctor that something is wrong it’s in their hands and you have to push and push to make sure that people act.”

‘You can’t be frightened if there is something wrong, you have to do something about it because it’s not just going to go away.’

 

Serious Injury Claims with Sincere Law

The legal side

When it comes to suffering from cancer, it is not generally a priority to take legal council. Often it depends on the circumstances surrounding the development of the disease. In Miss Tomlinson’s case she told her parents not to pursue legal action, including after she died, as she felt it was too late.

Sometimes, however, legal aid is something a sufferer may wish to seek. In the role of a serious injury or illness, a solicitor can help with a network of contacts that can arrange and provide essential aftercare, such as fast tracked healthcare, counselling and the planning of future expenses for both the sufferer and their family.

Medical negligence cases take time, care and individual attention to see through. We always aim to achieve a personal service where the sufferer and their family feel they are relieved of a lot of pressure injury and illness can bring.

To have a chat with one of our team about any kind of injury or illness, you can call 01695 722 222 anytime between 9am and 7pm on weekdays. Our team are on hand to offer conscientious, free, impartial advice on what role Sincere Law can play in a serious injury or illness.

We also have an online form which allows you to give details of the problem. From there we can call you and further discuss the details.

Should Radical Treatments Be Included In Costs?

In the ever evolving climate of medical science, we are finding new ways to compensate for injuries that heavy affect our life. Amputations for example have evolved from simple wooden replacement limbs to electronic and bionic limbs. Despite being expensive, we ask should these be included in personal injury claim costs?

New, expensive technology to be part of compensation?

Medical Advances

Back in February we looked at the history of prosthetic limbs. The article explored how much we’ve evolved from the first prosthetics, through to bionic devices which are now able to utilise brainwaves to move.

The newest brands of prosthetic limbs are more than simply replacements that look like the real article, they often now look to perform like the real article, and with more time and research could perform like the real article through the use of thought, just like a natural limb.

 

Prosthetics and Injury Claims

In the past, with prosthetic limbs being more primitive and easier to maintain, calculating the cost of the limb and its maintenance would be simple. With such advanced prosthetics available now, solicitors are requiring to think about demanding higher damages in order to give clients the closest possible replacement following an amputation with little to no compromise on the quality.

While the cost of prosthetics are increasing, along with the complexity of them, it is argued that no injury victim deserves compromise when it comes to attempting to put their life back as it was. With an amputation, we cannot replace the natural limb. However, we are able to try to get as close to a natural limb as possible. In the past this would be a wooden replacement. Eventually it became a lifelike plastic limb. In 2016, we have the ability to have a limb that reacts like a natural one.

In a piece for Solicitors Journal, serious injury specialist, Suzanna Trask, wrote “The compensatory nature of damages aims, as far as is possible, to put the claimant back into the position they would have been in, had the negligence not occurred. This means that it is open to the claimant to claim the cost of any available technology or development which an expert reports is likely to help them.”

“A claim should include not only the initial cost, but the price of ongoing maintenance and replacements or further necessary treatment during the life of the claimant.”

 

Is technology necessary?

In each case, the judge holds ultimate decision making power on what they feel to be “reasonable” in order to meet the needs of the injured party. They will be able to decide if a costly, high maintenance new limb is adequate compensation for the damage caused by the defendant.

Porsthetics and personal injury

In any personal injury case, what is considered as reasonable compensation is argued at length,  in order to set the injured person back to how their life was before the incident (as close as possible). With groundbreaking transplants now being performed,  including the UK’s first double hand transplant, which happened recently, we will soon be able to gauge the usefulness of the more high tech equipment and its ability to return a person to life as they knew it.

For more information on the effect of serious injury (including amputation) and what a solicitors firm such as ourselve does for our clients during a claim, you can visit our website here.

Serious injury cases require much more attention and expertise than other injuries, often requiring expert help like physiotherapists, doctors and councillors. We have spent more than 26 years building those links to help all of our clients with should they need them during their recovery.

For free advice on how we could help you or one of your family members or even a friend, call us today on 0800 092 2896 (lines are open weekdays from 9am to 7pm). Alternatively, you can get in touch using our online contact form here.

 

New drug could limit brain injury damage

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.

New drug could limit brain injury damage

Traumatic Injuries

In the EU each year 1.6 million people suffer from traumatic brain injuries. Of which 70,000 die and 100,000 suffer from disabilities. TBIs can leave some of the most devastating effects for sufferers including:

  • Cognitive problems
  • Communication difficulties
  • Reduced awareness
  • Emotional & behavioural problems
  • Affected mobility
  • Epilepsy and seizures
  • Weakness of muscles
  • Paralysis

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.

 

New Drugs

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.”

Incorrect prescriptions can cause serious injury - Sincere Law

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.

 

Optometrist Given Suspended Sentence for Negligent Manslaughter

Optometrist Honey Rose who is being held responsible for the death of child Vincent Barker back in 2013, has been sentenced at Ipswich crown court.

The gross negligence manslaughter case over optometrist has finished

Sentencing

Miss Rose was found guilty during the summer and was scheduled to be sentenced at the end of the summer. Following her hearing, she was given a two year suspended sentence involving 200 hours of unpaid work. The judge for the trial, Mr Jeremy Stuart-Smith had said it was the first trial like it he had proceeded over.

In 2013, Miss Rose carried out what was meant to be a routine eye examination and didn’t pick up on a build-up of fluid which eventually led to the boy’s death. The case presented by Vincent’s parents was that Miss Rose was negligent in her duty and should have picked up on the problem and suggested treatment. Meanwhile, Miss Rose’s team defended her by stating it was not beyond reasonable doubt that she could have missed the problem during the check-up.

While the sentence is a measure of justice for young Vincent, his parents will not be celebrating. Afterwards they admitted “The outcome of this case does not change our life sentence; we will never be able to fully accept that our special little boy is never coming home.”

 

The cost of a life

As serious injury solicitors, Sincere Law has witnessed the impact that a loss of life can have on a family (particularly a young life). A fatality not only leaves a large emotional void for those left behind, which can never be filled, it also robs the opportunity for the person involved to grow up, enjoy life and fulfil their potential.

In cases such as these it is common for us to arrange for a specialist team to help those left not only organise necessary requirements and grieve, but also to ensure they have the best possible mindset following a death.

It is not easy to return to work or regular life after losing a family member, whether it is a child or adult. We often arrange a team of experts dedicated to sorting any further financial and emotional support to those left behind. In the case of Vincent this would possibly be part of the case to help his parents try and get back to everyday life.

Medical Negligence Severity

Any instance of medical negligence has the potential to be serious or fatal. When a doctor, nurse, GP or any medical professional does not fulfil their duty of care it can have very serious consequences as evidenced.

With the medical world involving drugs, dangerous medical equipment and procedures, it can be no surprise that the smallest issue can lead to a very serious medical negligence claim which involves arranging prolonged treatment, recovery, financial planning and aftercare.

If you would like to know more about how Sincere Law assists with the healing process following a serious injury or death, you can call one of our advisers for free, impartial advice on 0800 092 2896.

If you feel you, a friend or family member may wish to make a serious injury claim and gain a measure of justice for injuries caused, you can either call our number above on weekdays from 9am to 7pm or get in touch via our contact page here.

 

“Family First” Campaign Launched To Fight Brain Injuries

The National Lottery has begun funding a brand new campaign, designed to help families living with children suffering from acquired brain injuries. Championed in Northern Ireland to support 50 families and even more children, the scheme could benefit the rest of the UK in the future,  if and when it is rolled out further.

Brain Injury campaign funded by national lottery

Five Year Plan

Family First is one of five projects launched at once, with an overall fund of £3.3 million going towards good causes. Living with acquired brain injury can be a full time job for families when the injury involved one of their children. Charities, along with existing government funding, can help alleviate some of the pressure on those families, but sometimes it just isn’t enough.

The £700,000 scheme, which is set to run over five  years, is initially being launched in Northern Ireland. It is hoped that the scheme will help around 50 families to provide a good level of care and a happy life for their affected children, as well as assist the families also.

As the Family First scheme is lottery funded, it is hoped that the scheme may be rolled out further, across the UK in the future, especially if the pilot and initial £700,000 investment, proves to be a useful injection into the care of those in need.

What lottery funding does for us

1,000 Potential Beneficiaries

Up to 1,000 children are set to be helped in some way, as part of the funding, as they receive valuable support wtih care costs, advice, counselling and medical assistance.

The mother of one child involved was full of praise for the scheme and funding, stating “Family First has been so fantastic. You feel they really understand what it’s like for you and they’ll go the extra mile to provide support. It’s made such a difference. I can’t thank them enough.”

The Chief Executive of prominent brain injury charity “Brain Injury Matters” Fiona McCabe, commented on the toll that an acquired brain injury can take on affected families, saying:

Families need the right support as without it they can fall apart. Parents may feel guilt and blame themselves for their child’s brain injury. Because there is understandably focus on the child with the acquired brain injury, their brother and sisters may feel confused and excluded. All this puts pressure on the family unit and can make the child’s rehabilitation all the more difficult.”

The new scheme will help alleviate a lot of that pressure on connected family members and help keep the lives of all affected as positive as possible. For more on acquired brain injuries and their effects, take a look at what we can do for acquired brain injury victims when they are caused by serious negligence.

Sincere Law specialises in brain injury assistance from acquired to traumatic, axial to diffuse. These injuries often require extensive assistance over a long time (something we are experienced in providing). For more news on developments for brain injury suffers and the serious injury sector, visit our blog.

 

“Injury claims should not affect care assessments by councils” says ombudsman

St Helens council has recently been wrapped by the legal ombudsman for refusing to fund care because a local man had already received a payout from a personal injury claim. Why is it important that councils still provide care even when a citizen has been paid out in a personal injury claim? Sincere Law investigates.

Personal Injury Payouts

Any personal injury case is a battle of two sides, the client and the defendant. Often (even in simple cases) a defendant’s insurer or solicitor would look to pay as little as possible to settle a claim to minimize their losses. This means that even when a client has a strong case, we would have to still prove that the compensation being asked is enough to cover the cost of damages. Should a matter go to court, it then requires proving to a judge who can assess the situation and assign damages based on their judgement of the facts.

In the St Helens case, the client had suffered brain injuries which would impact the rest of his life. The injuries impacted his cognitive abilities and was required to rent out a flat and pay for specialist care using his compensation for 35 hours a week. The council during this period assessed him and despite being told there was a “critical risk” if care wasn’t provided for him, they ordered that the man pay for this essential care with his own money.

St Helens council wrapped by legal ombudsman

Council Failings

After being awarded the compensation, St Helens council failed to produce a care plan or assess how much towards his own care he should pay with a financial assessment.

An investigation into the matter from the legal ombudsman declared that the man may have suffered increased financial difficulty in the 2 years following his injury up to the point of the investigation. While the financial compensation was a considerably large amount, further financial complications, personal circumstances, price of care and extent of care are all subject to change following a serious injury.

When dealing with serious injury claims, a solicitor will consult a selection of professionals to assess care needs and provide a plan of action. This may often require adaption or further care should the future hold any complications. When a person needs ongoing care, the local authorities often assess that person and will provide care either for free or at a reduced cost dependant on circumstances. Sincere Law’s Head of Catastrophic Injury, Chris Walker added his thoughts based on personal experiences:

“It seems currently there is a bias by local authorities against those that have personal injury compensation. Should the man in question have not been awarded his money, would he have been forced to pay for his care himself? We feel no. Circumstances can change dramatically, especially when dealing with catastrophic injury as complications are always a risk. On this basis, we wholeheartedly agree with the ombudsman’s recommendations that no personal injury compensation should ever be taken into account when determining care costs for an individual.”

Prosthetic Limbs & Personal Injury

We have seen encouraging development in the field of prosthetic limbs over recent years; a far cry from the makeshift wooden blocks once used to return an amputee into society. How though does the law view these limbs in the situation of sustaining damage negligently? As part of a person or simply property?

The History of Prosthetics

Prosthetic limbs date back to early civilisations. The oldest known prosthetic was a false leg taken from a roman burial from around 300bc which suffered the unfortunate fate of being destroyed in a World War II bombing raid. However, in 2012, a prosthetic toe was found belonging to an Egyptian which dates back to around 710bc – 950bc. Early prosthetics of the time were designed to give “fullness” to the wearer as those who suffered an amputation would want to pass through to the next life whole.

Later developments during the middle ages were made so that the limbs replaced severed appendages lost in battle, designing them so they were able to perform a simple purpose such as a hand that held a shield or a leg that easily fit inside a stirrup. One of the most notorious prosthetics of the time was the ‘Iron hand of Götz Von Berlichingen’ which made the knight quite a fierce and imposing figure on the battlefield.

Gotz Von Berlingenen Hand

During the 17th to 20th centuries, artificial limbs began to look similar to that of a natural appendage, moving closer to the real article to help wearers feel more comfortable in public. Limbs, like the first non-locking below the knee prosthesis, were introduced; allowing a user to walk normally with bendable knees.

Large strides were made following both World Wars, as for the first time in history we saw mass amounts of people require prosthetics to allow them to operate away from the battlefield. With around 67,000 German amputees and 4,000 US amputees alone in World War 1, there was a need for advances in the development of hands, arms, legs and foot prosthetics.

The most recent improvements have ranged from allowing athletes to achieve similar times to able bodied athletes, attempting to simulate touch to send signals to the rest of the body, and creating limbs that operate using signals from the brain.

 

How we went from peg legs to biotic limbs: Source

 

Personal Injury or Property?

Given there have not yet been any landmark cases in the UK regarding damage to artificial limbs, it is hard to give a definite answer when asking if a damaged prosthetic constitutes property damage or personal injury. The main talking point revolves around the ability to cause physical pain when bringing up a personal injury case. With artificial limbs rapidly improving year on year, the ability to rule them as simply property is becoming harder for all in the legal industry. Both sides give credible cases.

 

No Pain, No Personal Injury

The current legal ruling is that any damage caused by a person’s negligence to a prosthetic limb would only constitute property damage on the basis that the limbs are simply mechanical devices causing the user no pain should they suffer harm.

While there isn’t any case evidence of the legal standpoint in UK law, there have been multiple articles commentating from the United States’ point of view. All articles address the issue utilising the above point regarding property not being part of a person.

 

Assimilation Makes Damage Personal

The alternative argument for prosthetics being included in a personal injury case, is the degree to which the user feels the limb is a natural part of their body. If somebody uses their artificial hand, arm, leg or foot regularly, and feels it is a part of them, that limb could potentially be considered as integral a body part as any natural part.

While originally limbs were cruder in design and served a very functional purpose, the advance in their integration into the body could see them viewed in future as important as the rest of their limbs. With newer prosthetics able to read nerve responses and be controlled via brainwaves, a newer amputee may begin to feel as though that limb is the same as it was previously except made from a different material.

Amputation injury, prosthetic leg

Setting Precedents

While this area of law would currently still favour the accepted notion that prosthetics are “property” due to the previous nature of these limbs being purely functional, the rapid advance in technology could open up future debate regarding their connection to the person they are part of.

Sincere Law Catastrophic Injury Partner Chris Walker spoke to us regarding the issue, stating “Currently the law favours the stance that artificial limbs operate outside the body, hence being property. It also accepts that no harm or pain comes to the person if damaged. However; it can be feasible to think in the future, that new technology could bring that theory into question. Anything is possible in science and we are continually seeing strides made in this field. As injury solicitors, we always strive to return a victim to how their life was before an accident. With artificial limbs approaching biotic integration, it is becoming easier for us to achieve this as we get to see our clients happy that life is not as drastically affected as first feared.

Will we ever see a further movement to produce prosthetics that are more biotic than robotic? The future is (as usual) unclear, and despite the strides towards helping amputation victims regain as much of their former self as possible; the law will continually need to take stock as to whether the devices attached to them are still simply property, or eventually become part of a person’s natural body.

 

Sources:

Götz Von Berlichingen Hand – commons.wikmedia.org

Amputee Cyclist – commons.wikimedia.org

 

Serious Injury In Sport – Not Always From foul Play

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.

sincere law, sports injury specialists

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:

  • Broken limbs
  • Torn muscles
  • Strained muscles
  • Concussions
  • Dislocations
  • Eye injuries

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.

 

serious injury claims - sport

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.