A court in Manchester has recently ruled in favour of a semi-professional football player who suffered a broken ankle when he was recklessly tackled whilst playing in a Northern Premier league match against Ossett United. He was awarded £135,000.00 in damages and legal costs, which in turn has put Ossett United's continued existence in jeopardy.
There are fears amongst football chairman that this landmark case will lead to an "immeasurable number of claims". Observers believe such claims may not be limited to football and could open the floodgates to claims in many sports and at all levels.
So how easy is it to pursue a claim for this kind of injury?
The short answer is this type of claim is difficult to prove as a claimant must prove negligence bordering on recklessness whilst also overcoming the defence known as volenti non fit injuria. This defence stops claims being bought if the claimant reasonably ought to have known that a degree of harm might result from the action carried out.
It will also require detailed witness statements from players, officials and spectators and, if the referee didn't deem the tackle to be worthy of punishment then this may impact on the court's view as to whether there has been negligence. The defendant's insurance position is of vital importance, particularly whether cover is in place to pay any compensation awarded.
As a result of these many hurdles such claims are rarely pursued. A more high-profile example is the case of former Manchester United youth player Ben Collett who was awarded more than £4.3m in 2008 after a tackle which ended his career.
If you or someone you know has suffered an injury due to, what you believe to be, a negligent or reckless act while playing sport you may be able to pursue a claim for compensation. For a free initial chat, we can be contacted on 0800 731 8539 or by email