Have you injured yourself during sporting activities or training in the ACT? Sports injuries can be painful, inconvenient and expensive.
So what can you do when the injuries are more serious? What if you now have significant medical expenses or need to take time off work? Amber Wang, Senior Associate with Snedden Hall & Gallop Lawyers, discusses your options if you have a serious sports injury, and what’s involved in sports injury claims in the ACT.

Are you part of a sports club?

Injuries frequently occur due to overuse, direct impact, or when a force is applied that is greater than the body part can structurally bear. Usually the injury isn’t anyone’s fault.
Most sporting organisations have some degree of insurance coverage for their members while they are participating in organised events. Members pay a levy as part of their registration or membership fee towards the cost of the insurance. However, you may not think twice about the level of coverage that the policy provides unless/until you are injured. Compensation may be payable, irrespective of fault, although with capped benefits for medical expenses and lost income, and set timeframes. If you have injured yourself, ask about your organisation’s insurance policy, including any time limitations for bringing a claim.

Is sport part of your employment?

If sport is part of your employment and you injure yourself, you may be entitled to claim workers compensation benefits. You may have injured yourself while training, playing sport or travelling to/from sporting events or training. Entitlements vary depending on when you injured yourself, why you were playing sport, and whether you work in the public or private sector.
In some situations involving serious injuries, you can access income protection or lodge a total and permanent disablement claim through your superannuation fund.

What if it wasn’t just an accident?

Participating in sport involves inherent risks of injury, and most sporting injuries are not the result of negligence. If, however, your injury was the result of the intentional or reckless actions of someone else; inadequate supervision; or unsafe facilities, playing surfaces or equipment, you should discuss your accident with a personal injury lawyer.
If you injured yourself because of a breach of a duty of care, you may be entitled to claim common law compensation for:

  • general damages for pain and suffering
  • medical and rehabilitation expenses, aids or housing modifications
  • loss of income and superannuation
  • domestic assistance and care (paid or gratuitous).

Legal representatives and insurance companies often settle compensation claims before court proceedings are filed.
Sports injury compensation claims in the ACT have time limits: three years for adults and up to six years for children under the age of 18. It is best to get legal advice about the time limits applicable to you.

What if I signed a waiver?

Sporting organisations often ask their members to sign a waiver of liability so that members, if injured, would not bring a claim against the organisation.
It’s important to read and understand any waivers before you compete in a sporting event. Only then can you weigh up the risk of injury versus the enjoyment of participating. In some situations, however, the waiver may not prevent you from pursuing compensation.
If you think that your injury occurred due to someone else’s negligence, you should seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible. Then you can make informed decisions about how to claim for lost income or other expenses you incur.

Snedden Hall & Gallop can assist you

If your sports injury occurred in the ACT and it is due to negligence,  you may be able to claim compensation. To get advice about a compensation claim for a sporting injury that you experienced in the ACT, please contact us on 02 6285 8000 or by email. You can see details of our compensation representation here.