Q: I play rugby for my local team. Recently I suffered a broken leg when I was tackled by a player in the other team and as a result I am off work. Can I get compensation for lost earnings?
A: If you have personal insurance that you have voluntarily taken out for income protection and/or personal accident cover, you should contact your insurer to make a claim under your policy. Additionally, your team will have player insurance if it is a WRU/RFU member club; however, this cover is frequently limited to death, loss of limbs or permanent total loss/disablement and would therefore be of no use to you in the circumstances.
Alternatively, you could bring a claim for either assault or negligence. Firstly, to establish assault by a fellow player under civil (as opposed to criminal) law, you must show that the injury was inflicted intentionally. This can be difficult to show during a fast paced game where the injury is more likely to have been inflicted recklessly or negligently. To establish an action in negligence against a player or referee, you need to satisfy the high thresholds of liability set by the Courts to minimise litigation where the players have freely consented to the inherent risks of the game. The Courts will not uphold a claim against a player where there has been an error of judgment, oversight or lapse that occurred in a fast-paced and contact sport. To claim against a referee, you must show he failed to exercise reasonable care in enforcing the rules. It appears that the Court will permit only those Claims where the injury was occasioned in breach of the rules of the game.
Sports law is a specialist topic, comprising many different areas of the law. For specialist advice on your query, you should contact a solicitor who can appropriately advise you.