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Sports Injuries

When Queenslanders participate in a sport, they often accept that doing so involves an inherent risk of injury. This can include participating in the sport itself or sometimes it can extend to spectators who are even just in the vicinity where the sport is played.

The Civil Liability Act 2003 (QLD) does not apportion liability for a failure to warn of obvious risks in an activity where it is a matter of common knowledge that the risk is there, even if the chances of it occurring are low. An injured person is presumed to have been aware of an obvious risk (unless they can prove otherwise), such as a Brisbane rugby player who gets injured from being legally tackled during a game and lands on his head causing a traumatic brain injury. Similarly, liability will not be apportioned for injuries that arise from obvious risks of ‘dangerous recreational activities’ that involve a significant degree of risk of physical harm. An example would be a Gold Coast car racer crashing their car in an accident while on the track and suffering paraplegia.

However, there is an exception to the legislation. Liability may arise where it can be proven that the accident and injury was the result of negligence, deliberate or reckless conduct, unexpected aggression/violence, unsafe facilities or equipment, or inadequate supervision. If your situation involves one of these causes, you may have a sports injury claim for compensation.

How Does This Apply To Me?

Are you an athlete?

If you have been seriously injured due to the negligence of another in your chosen field of sport, your life can be seriously affected both financially and emotionally. A career in sports can be ruined from an injury as minor as a broken ankle. The inability to participate and compete in your chosen sport may result in loss of income and career earnings during your prime years. If the injury is seriously debilitating, you may require ongoing funds to compensate for continuing medical treatment, surgery or housekeeping and attendant care.

Some examples include:

  • – You are an AFL player and your opponent injures you by making a dangerous tackle against the rules of the game.
  • – The referee in your basketball game fails to adhere to their duty of care to do their job of ensuring reasonable care for the safety of their athletes.
  • – Participation in a league or recreational group that results in a serious injury.

Are you a Parent of a Child Athlete?

It can be scary and even confusing to hear that your child has been hospitalised from an injury while playing sports or engaging in a recreational activity. Most parents are reluctant to bring an action against the party responsible, especially if it is a school, minor acquaintance, neighbour, etc. However, a severe sports injury can permanently affect a child for their lifetime. A parent has a responsibility to protect the legal interests of their children as well.

Other situations where negligence can cause a serious sport or recreational injury may include:

  • – Unsafe premises that causes a significant injury to you or your child.
  • – Being inadequately trained or supervised by an incompetent instructor when learning a new sport or activity.
  • – A child being injured due to the poor supervision of their physical education (PE) teacher.
  • – A toddler slipping on a slippery or poorly maintained playing surface.
  • – Reckless, aggressive or malicious behaviour by another child athlete.
  • – Inadequate training or supervision for recreational staff or other athletes.
  • – Medical negligence in giving advice or treatment.
  • – Failure of a regulatory body to take reasonable steps to prevent or mitigate the inherent risks of a sport in highly regulated sports such as martial arts or boxing.

Are you a Spectator?

The occupier of a venue where you watch a sport has a duty of care to make sure that you are safe while on their premises by taking reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable risks of harm such as dealing with rowdy drunken spectators or making sure that all walking surfaces are reasonably free of any debris that can cause a slip.

Similarly, a sports supervisor also has this duty of care to protect its participants and spectators. Some other ways that they may fail this duty of care include:

  • – Failing to provide adequate lighting in high traffic areas during a game.
  • – Failing to reasonably control the behaviour of their athletes or staff.
  • – Being vicariously liable for the actions of a negligent or reckless employee.

What Can I Expect From A Sports Injury Claim?

A critical aspect of a successful sports injury claim for compensation is gathering evidence to support your claim. This may often require witnesses such as teammates and preferably the game official. This process can be difficult, especially since witness statements would need to be made before those witnesses begin to forget the details of the accident.

Another critical kind of evidence that is required is finding adequate medical evidence to substantiate your complaints and losses. It is important to find doctors who are highly experienced in the fields concerning your injury, whether you suffer from musculoskeletal injuries, broken bones or fractures, serious spinal injuries or even secondary psychological injuries such as depression or phobias.

In a sports injuries claim, there are a number of legal avenues to pursue for compensation including common law, statute, contract law, workers compensation and public liability. Most often, sports facilities, employers or public facilities such as schools will have liability insurance that may bear some of the legal costs and disbursements, should your claim be successful.

What Kind of Sport Injuries Are Covered?

It is important to understand that each sport carries differing amounts of risk and thus, the courts will apply a different standard of care for each unique circumstance. Compensation may be paid out to victims who have suffered an injury due to negligence. Some of the possible injuries that may occur (but are not limited to) are:

  • – Spinal injuries
  • – Cervical or lumbar disc injuries
  • – Quadriplegia or Paraplegia
  • – Concussion
  • – Contusions
  • – Lacerations
  • – Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • – Musculoskeletal Injuries and Diseases
  • – Bone Fractures
  • – Eye Injuries
  • – Loss of Hearing
  • – Joint Dislocations
  • – Rotator Cuff Injury
  • – Tendon Tears
  • – Sprains and Strains
  • – Whiplash Injuries
  • – Fractured Clavicle
  • – Neurological and Nerve Damage
  • – Spleen Injuries
  • – Internal Organ Damage (e.g. internal bleeding)
  • – Cartilage tears
  • – Sports Hernia
  • – Open Wounds
  • – Hip Injuries and Fractures
  • – Broken Arms and other Limbs
  • – Groin Injury
  • – Serious Secondary Psychological Injuries (Depression, Phobia, Agoraphobia, etc.)
  • – Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • – Death
  • – Compartment Syndrome
  • – Leg Injuries

What Kind of Compensation Can I Claim?

If you have been injured and the courts agree that the parties responsible owe a duty of care, have breached that duty of care, and caused the damage then you may be entitled to compensation. This can include:

  • – Medical and Rehabilitation Expenses
  • – Loss of Wages and Potential Earnings
  • – Domestic Assistance
  • – Attendant Care
  • – Medical or Equipment Aids, and Housing Modifications
  • – General Damages such as Pain & Suffering

What Is Contributory Negligence?

Contributory Negligence is an available defence that limits the amount of damages you can claim in court if it can be proven that you contributed to your own injury through your own negligence.

What Sports Are Covered in a Sports Injury Claim?

Depending on the circumstances of the accident and the negligence of the responsible party, technically all sports can be covered by a sports injury claim. Some of the most common sports where a negligent injury may arise include:

  • – Netball
  • – Cricket
  • – Football, Rugby League, Soccer, AFL, Touch Football
  • – Basketball
  • – Hockey
  • – Volleyball
  • – Martial Arts
  • – Boxing
  • – Wrestling
  • – Cycling
  • – Racquet Sports (Badminton, Squash, Tennis, Ping Pong, etc.)
  • – Golf
  • – Roller Sports
  • – Motor Sports
  • – Gymnastics, Acrobatics, Trampolining
  • – Water Sports (e.g. Swimming, Boating, Surfing, Fishing, Scub Diving, etc.)
  • – Ice and Snow Sports (e.g. Skiing, Snowboarding, Skating)
  • – Horseback Riding
  • – Shooting
  • – Dance

What Is The Next Step?

It is highly recommended that you speak to a personal injury lawyer who is an accredited specialist in personal injury. These legal professionals specialise solely in personal injury law and are the most experienced individuals to deal with the complexities of a claim for compensation under the laws of negligence.

Speaking to an accredited specialist provides the initial legal advice that you need in order to make a decision as to whether or not to pursue a claim. This is an important resource to have and it is highly recommended that you are diligent when choosing a personal injury specialist.

Most personal injury law firms offer a free, no obligation consultation so you have no risk in speaking with an accredited specialist in personal injury today.

Why East Coast Injury Lawyers?

Our accredited specialists in personal injury are experienced in representing both plaintiffs and insurance defence. What does this mean for you? Speaking with our accredited specialists in personal injury can be helpful in receiving a comprehensive assessment of your claim. Having a professional who understands how ‘the other side’ operates also assists your claim by providing foresight to how the claim will progress and how the insurance company will operate concerning your claim.

Contact us today to learn more about how East Coast Injury Lawyers c

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