Sign Your Life Away – Do Waivers Stop You From Claiming?

When you take part in any activity that could pose a physical risk, like a sporting competition or events such as the newly popular extreme assault courses, you will most probably sign a waiver. These waivers record that you accept that there is a risk of you being injured while taking part. But does that absolve all blame from the organiser?

Spartan races are fast becoming one of the mot popular extreme race events in the world

Event Insurance

All event organisers, including sports and team building obstacle race holders, will be required to have insurance and be expected to have made precautions for any accidents that could happen. This usually includes arranging for first aiders to be present and ensuring that there is suitable access for emergency services, as well as ensuring the venue is appropriate and that participants are prepared and aware of any risks. This insurance is necessary as,, although participants suffering minor scrapes, bruises or even minor breaks are covered under the waiver; negligence of any form is not and should it occur, it would leave the event organiser liable.

The now worldwide giant, Tough Mudder, has come under criticism for injuries caused since it’s inception in 2010. With runners electrocuted by 10,000 volt cables and sustaining some brutal punishment over the courses, some have suggested that a lack of care has been taken with the obstacle design. With some events seeing deaths, paralysis and major injuries in recent years, the question of negligence has lingered for some time.

The same idea of waivers not covering negligent actions applies to sports too. Many sports have governing bodies which issue insurance to members covering injury during training sessions and competition; with additional insurance available for instructors. However, liability waivers do not cover acts of negligence on behalf of coaches, referees or other participants. Should another competitor intentionally injure you or a referee fails to act within their duty of care to all participants, then those actions fall outside of a waiver and give a person the right to claim compensation.

Serious injury during sports or tough mudders

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Waiver Legality

A waiver is designed to fulfil the legal requirement that the participant in an activity is aware of the potential risk and is still willing to participate. Although some waivers may mention complete absolution from liability, this isn’t actually a true statement.

Legally if a company, organiser or governing body of an event have done all within their power to oversee the safety of participants, then injury cannot bring forth a personal injury claim. However, if those same authorities have in fact been negligent in their preparation and allowed for slips in safety procedures, then a claim can be made.

Sincere Law has represented both athletes and race participants in the past for these situations. The challenge for the solicitor of an injured individual is to prove the accident was the fault of negligence.

 

Proving Fault

While not an easy process, it can be determined,  with some investigation by a solicitor, as to whether the waiver signed covers the accident or not. Looking into previous injuries using the apparatus, the health and wellbeing of the person involved and the situation surrounding the incident all come into play.

While we would never discourage anybody from participating in a sport that has injury risks or completing an obstacle race with risky sections, Sincere Law would always advise being in the best possible condition to safely compete/complete a course and also be aware of the proper rules and procedures for participation.

With some research suggesting an average of 1.72 people being taken to hospital per 1,000 entrants for extreme obstacle races, you need to be sure you can safely complete them as well as having fun doing so.

tough mudder serious injury claims

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

If you have been involved in a sporting event or an obstacle race and have suffered a serious injury, then do not hesitate to get in touch with Sincere Law. We operate on a No Win No Fee basis and, after an initial no hassle call, we can ascertain whether you have a potential claim. We also offer a £250 recommend a friend scheme in which you can earn £250 for recommending Sincere Law to a friend. Our lines are open from 9am until 8pm daily so get in touch today!

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.

 

Cycling safety – Helmet cameras assisting with serious injury claims

The view of a beautiful decline down a luscious part of the country is now regularly filmed via helmet mounted cameras on cyclists across the UK. The number of people using them has grown rapidly since their inception at the turn of the century. However, these cameras are also being used to record video evidence against negligent and poor drivers during everyday commutes; which begs the question, are helmet mounted cameras good for evidence in serious injury cases?

serious injury claims from cycling accidents

Using helmet mounted cameras

The technology around helmet mounted cameras began to become popular when leading sports camera company GoPro started their journey back in 2002 with the idea of capturing surfers performing directly from the athlete themselves. This quickly developed into cameras designed to capture a multitude of sports including skiing, cycling and many other extreme activities; it has even stretched into the realms of filming non sport related videos, capturing some truly amazing moments, such as the worlds highest freefall, to a fire-fighter saving a kitten from a burned down building.

As time passes, like with all areas of technology, the ability for higher resolution videos, smaller cameras, longer battery life and larger storage capacity enables us to capture any aspect of daily life in high detail. This has been the case for many cyclists in the UK and the rest of the world, recording great journeys and daily commutes alike. However, the use of these cameras is currently just as much for personal protection reasons as capturing stunning scenery.

Video evidence

Search on YouTube for anything related to bad driving and cyclists and you will find hundreds of incidents involving road users displaying road rage and poor driving caught using mounted cameras. Previously, serious injuries from road traffic accidents involving cyclists would involve testimonials from those present, including witnesses. While this is reliable if more than one testimonial matches up to create the full story, the advent of cyclists using helmet mounted cameras has enabled an extra dimension of evidence to support their claims. Video evidence can often be very useful in determining who was at fault in a serious injury case. There are however, limitations with using video as evidence in a claim you are making.


Video courtesy of the Telegraph – http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Legal Considerations

Although video evidence often depicts what happened during an incident without prejudice and from an unbiased view, having footage does not automatically mean police or a court will accept recordings. Common considerations for using footage when reporting a serious injury claim from cycling include:

Showing entirety of the incident: Usually 2 minutes before and 2 minutes after the incident so that a clear understanding of how the incident began and the aftermath can be drawn.

If possible, show the date and time: Some cameras automatically have a timestamp, clarifying the incident as the one in question. This helps legitimise the video as being not only of the incident, but driver (if the face is shown) and victim.

Footage must be raw and unedited: As video editing is very accessible now, it is important to submit any footage in its raw form, clearly displaying no signs of doctoring.

Handing footage to authorities quickly: Similarly to the above point, footage should be handed in to the relevant authorities (often the police) quickly (within 48 hours of the incident) to ensure there is no time to doctor the video and so action can be taken asap.

Video quality must be acceptable: There are hundreds of camera brands for helmets and most will be of suitable quality for recording. It is important to have a high enough resolution that there can be no doubt about the vehicle involved in the incident, its registration and if possible the driver (should we see their face).

Be aware of your own behaviour: While we may be able to see the original incident wasn’t your fault, if you were to retaliate in an unacceptable manner (physically or verbally) or are seen to be antagonising and making the situation worse, this could go against you when considering the evidence.

Can we use it?

Having video evidence; while not 100% certain to be used within a claim; is, in short, a useful tool to ensure any denial on liability can be challenged when claiming from a cycling accident. If you are going to be cycling a lot and are considering having a camera mounted on your helmet or bike, as an insurance option it can easily help legitimise any claim. Video evidence, if accepted, can go a long way to speeding up the claim process.

Our advice when using mounted cameras is to stay courteous, even after any incident, as your own behaviour is on show. Also, make sure you act quickly if you are on the receiving end of negligent driving while riding. When on a bike you are much more vulnerable to serious injury from negligent driving than in a car, as there is less protection available. You can’t always guarantee those around you will be vigilant, so you must be, to lower the amount of risk.

serious injury claims, cycling accidents

What to do if you have been injured?

The first step after an injury is to get in touch with us and let us know all the details of your claim. From there we can confidently let you know if you have a solid claim and what to do to proceed. At Sincere Law our team has 20+ years of serious injury knowledge at each of our solicitors work on a no win no fee basis, giving you peace of mind to start your claim, knowing you won’t be charged if unsuccessful. We understand serious injuries like no other and we strive to look after you immediately following injury for as long as it takes for your to recover. We will also ensure that you receive the best aftercare following your return home.

If you or a loved one have been unfortunate and suffered a serious injury while cycling, video evidence or not, please call us for free impartial advice on 0800 092 2896 or fill on our contact form for one of our friendly advisers to get in touch with you.

The 5 most common work accidents and injuries

Workplace injuries are commonplace in the UK. While we often have training, risk assessments and dedicated staff in place to reduce the number of incidents, they do still happen. Being a serious injury specialist, Sincere Law deals with these kinds of injury cases on a daily basis. What however, are the most common accidents found within the workplace? We’ve put together the top 5 most common accident type to help you stay alert and avoid serious injury while at work.

1. Slips, trips & falls

Slips, trips and falls are by a long way the most common cause of serious injury to UK workers. In 2014 the number of combined serious slips, trips and falls reported by employees reached just over 27,500.

What’s interesting about this number reported by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was that all these reported accidents included only incidents resulting in a more than 7 day absence from work. According to statistics, 57% of major injuries to UK employees were the result of a slip, trip or fall on duty.

This type of injury can seriously damage somebody; from slipping on a wet floor and fracturing bones, to tripping over poorly placed objects, causing a fall and potentially risking severe damage to not only bones but the brain if the fall is particularly bad. Negligence is quite often the reason for these accidents, with incorrect equipment, unsafe environments and poor direction being the main causes.

2. Manual handling accidents

With over 18,500 workers injured by manual handling incidents in 2014 (accounting for nearly a quarter of reported injuries) these accidents make up a large number of serious injuries at work each year. Of those injured, 9 out of 10 of 2014’s manual handling accidents involved a longer than 7 day period away from work.

Handling injuries can be incredibly detrimental to the long term health of an employee, even risking their future. The most common injury caused by handling is strain and damage to the back, spine and neck. Spinal injuries can result in permanent trouble with movement, requiring lengthy spells of physiotherapy and possibly forcing early retirement if the person affected cannot perform manual tasks following injury.

Common causes of spinal injuries due to handling are overburdening of a staff member by asking to move something around their workplace and not providing proper training on how to lift and carry. Heavier loads usually require apparatus or machines to move. Proper equipment/machinery should always be provided to avoid injury.

serious injury while at work - Sincere Law

3. Car collisions

Driving is big business in the UK. Thousands of people drive each day in company cars to and from meetings alongside those using the roads keeping our logistics network running strong, be it in a van or a heavy goods vehicle (HGV).

In 2014, 1,504 employees were involved in collisions that resulted in a stay away from work longer than a week. Road traffic accidents can obviously stem a range of injury problems from whiplash, giving the driver back, neck and head problems, to the most severe lacerations, amputations and even fatalities.

4. Burns

Burns at work can come in the form not only as burns from fires; electrical burns can badly scar a person just as much as direct flames. Other burn types include exposure directly to harmful substances like acids or other corrosive materials. The result can be anything from large sections of skin peeling to permanent disfigurement.

Burns as a result of exposure accounts for just over 1,000 serious injuries per year according to HSE statistics. The riskiest environments involve employees who deal with fire or corrosives on a regular basis, working with open flames or handling chemicals for example. The aftermath of burns can be long lasting and have detrimental effects on the victim’s self esteem in later life if they have been disfigured as a result of their accident.

5. Electrical accidents

Everybody is aware of the danger electricity can cause. According to statistical analysis, there are around 1,000 cases of electric shocks in the workplace each year.

Even the lowest voltages such as a 50v plug can apply enough electricity to block signals between brain and muscles, risking the heart stopping, prevention of breathing or intense spasms. Electrical accidents are commonly caused by a failure to identify a risk of electrocution due to exposed wires, faulty equipment or lack of PPC.

Electrical damage can be extremely severe with serious, long lasting, even life changing effects. These include disfigurement and burns from skin contact, loss of function in limbs and long term damage to nerves/nerve endings as well as fatality if the voltage has caused the heart to stop beating properly or affected body function.

Sincere Law - Accidents at work

Be Aware!

With thousands of injuries at work each year, severe and minor, we all need to be aware of risks of our particular workplace. Our advice would be to be proactive and actively challenge managers should you be given incorrect equipment or dangerous instructions and to move any objects likely to cause falls or clean up spillages. Reducing risk is the number 1 priority in workplace safety and in an ideal world everybody will do their part to help not only themselves but their workmates too.

If you have unfortunately suffered as a result of a workplace injury that wasn’t your fault, make sure you call us today for free advice and a no hassle conversation on 0800 092 2896. Alternatively simply fill in our contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

“Think Bike” & Avoid Serious Injury

It’s a campaign that aims to remind all road users to be alert for hazards while driving. Particularly, motorbikes. The “Think Bike” campaign serves to keep us vigilant to the risks on both sides of not keeping eyes on the road and surroundings while travelling. Recently, articles on collisions that have caused serious injuries and luckily some that have avoided serious injuries have spurred us at Sincere Law to help remind everyone of the importance of safe driving.

Sincere Law, Road traffic accidents

 

 

Junction Safety

Both of the accidents in the articles we read (above) were from collisions that happened at junctions, one being a T junction and the other merging onto a motorway. These areas are the hotspots for motorbike collisions, on average “30 motorcyclists are killed or injured every day at junctions”. Our top tip, as simple as it sounds, is to take plenty of time, look both ways; don’t accelerate out of a junction too quickly. Sometimes waiting at a junction can be incredibly frustrating if traffic is busy, but waiting those few seconds is worth the trade off from potentially causing a serious road traffic accident or in the extreme, costing somebody’s life.

 

Road Etiquette

Of the top 5 most common causes of motorcycle accidents, 2 of them involve manoeuvring. Filtering and changing lanes are moments when not checking mirrors and keeping track of other drivers could result in serious collisions. Both driver and biker need to be sensible when filtering and changing lanes to keep themselves and others safe.

Filtering is perfectly legal and good for traffic. For bikers, it’s important in slow traffic to move at a steady pace to give drivers time to notice and react. Equally, when a driver is changing lanes, they must check mirrors, give plenty of indication time, and move steadily rather than suddenly; this way, even if a biker is not seen and approaches, they have ample time to slow down and avoid any possible collision.

 

Rural Riding

Blind bends and tight roads make country driving difficult to navigate, having to adapt to the road around you. With the national speed limit in place for most of these roads, the chances of collisions while driving at these speeds are increased greatly. Road traffic accidents with serious injury and deaths sadly occur often, sometimes on the same stretch of road.

When travelling on country roads, it would be highly advisable not to allow the speed limit to govern your driving. Instead, let the inclines/declines, bends and compactness of the road make the decisions. If the road is winding and hard to judge, slow down to a comfortable pace. With so much unpredictability and difficulty predicting what could be round the next bend, it is always advisable to be safe and take a country road with a smooth, controlled journey.

sincere law, serious injury claims

 

 

 

With motorcyclists 38 times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident than a car (UK Government Statistics) and over 4,800 serious injuries occurring each year involving them, it’s important on all sides to look after each other and observe good driving etiquette. Serious and fatal injuries can have lasting effects on not only those involved but the families too. We often have to help our clients remain financially secure when making claims for serious injury as the effects can last a lifetime. Common injuries found in road traffic accidents include:

  • Spinal compression
  • Broken & dislocated vertebrae
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Diffuse axonal injury
  • Burns

Our advice, given the latest news articles, is simply to look after one another, motorcyclist or driver; stay safe on the road and look out for fellow road users.

If you or a loved one have been unfortunate and suffered a road traffic accident in a car or on a motorcycle, get in touch with us on 0800 092 2896 or fill in our contact form. One of our advisors will be on hand to help give advice on how to move forward with a claim.