• 01616 966 229
  • Request a callback
Stephensons Solicitors LLP Banner Image

News and Events

Have you been injured whilst playing sports?

  • Posted
UKAD v Zak Hardaker: case comment

Negligence in respect of sports injuries can be difficult to prove as there is often an accepted risk of injury when being involved in sports, whether professionally, amateur or otherwise.

However, the recent Court of Appeal decision in Czernuszka v King [2023] EWHC 380 (KB) reminds us that that an acceptance of risk does not necessarily preclude an injured sportsperson from seeking compensation for their injuries where the circumstances of the injury have gone beyond the normal level of risk for the particular sport.

In this particular case, the claimant, an amateur rugby player, was involved in a game when she was tackled in such a manner that it caused her severe injuries, resulting in her becoming paraplegic.

Several arguments were placed before the court regarding the duty of care owed to the claimant by the defendant. The claimant argued that the dangerous tackle had been carried out in revenge. It was also argued that the claimant was vulnerable for several reasons, such as the position she was in at the time of the accident and the fact that she was considerably smaller in size and stature. The court found the players in this match had a duty to be mindful of each other and to play with the understanding that enjoyment and learning were the main objectives, not winning. It was found that the defendant had attempted to dominate the play using her weight, greater experience and language to intimidate the claimant and her teammates. She made clear that she was seeking revenge against the claimant, having been winded in a previous tackle, and then launched herself at the claimant whilst she was bent forward in a vulnerable position whilst waiting for the ball. The court ultimately found that, in these unusual and exceptional circumstances, the defendant was liable for the claimant’s injuries as she displayed a reckless disregard for the claimant’s safety in a manner which was liable to cause injury.

The standard of care applied in sports injuries is objective, and a higher degree of care is required dependent on the experience/level of the game played and its players.

At Stephensons we have a very experienced personal injury team who have handled many severe and serious injury claims including sports injuries, whether sustained during competitive sport or at the gym. If you would like some advice then our specialist personal injury solicitors are on hand to guide you through the process of making a claim, call us on 0161 696 6235 or complete our online enquiry form.

By Toni Lowery, litigation executive