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Can you make a personal injury claim for a football injury?

Football is back and the season is well and truly underway, along with it the beautiful game is likely to be the cause of much joy, but for others, it can be the source of a lot of pain, both on and off the pitch.

Sustaining a football injury can be extremely painful and can have serious long term implications for your health.

But did you know it could also be the cause of a potential personal injury claim?

As a general rule, most sports have been afforded a degree of protection from personal injury law in order to take into account the physical nature of some games.

Indeed, during football matches, players are expected to dispense and receive an above average amount of physical contact compared to the normal standards of society.

However, reckless or dangerous behaviour will not be tolerated, especially where it causes serious injury, or it deviates from the normal rules and regulations of the game.

When it comes to professional footballers who have been injured on the pitch, it is unlikely that many of their claims will go through the full court process.

This is because their employers – the football clubs, are required to carry indemnity insurance, resulting in insurers being more likely to settle out of court should the football club be liable for any personal injury claim.

Due to the league structure of football, and the varying skill set and ability levels that come as a result of the hierarchal system, it can be difficult to establish what standard of care footballers owe to each other.

However if one looks at the general principles of negligence, it is possible to gain an insight into how an approach could be made for a football injury claim.


In order for a personal injury claim to be brought, the claimant must prove that the defendant committed a negligent act and that the defendant also owed a duty of care to the claimant.

If the defendant acts in a way that is deemed to be below the standard conduct of a person in their position, then they will have breached the duty of care.

Also, in order for a claim to be brought, the defendant must have caused damage or injury to the claimant that was reasonably foreseeable.

Applying these general principles of negligence to football we can see how a claim for personal injury can be brought as a result of a football injury.

Firstly, every football player will be judged according to the standard of a ‘reasonable footballer’.

This ensures that there is a minimum skill level by which a player’s actions can be judged.

However, due to the nature of leagues within football, and the fact that these illustrate the skill level of players within those leagues, the standard of care is likely to be relevant to that particular league.

This does not change the fact that the defendant will no longer be judged according to the standard of a ‘reasonable footballer’, it simply means that they will be judged according to the standard of a ‘reasonable footballer’ from within their league.

As well as the principles above being taken into account, other factors may also come into play when deciding on the outcome or a football injury personal injury claim, for example, was there animosity or malice in the tackle that caused the injury? Or were their studs showing etc?

It should also be noted however that an injury caused by an error of judgement alone may not constitute liability.

Can your football club be liable for injury?

If your football club is also your employer then they can be found liable for a personal injury claim.

This may happen if they employ the player who causes serious injury to another, whilst acting in the course of the club’s employment, for example a tackle during a football match.

This type of liability is known as ‘vicarious liability’ and will allow a player to claim for personal injury because the injury occurred to the claimant whilst the defendant was acting in the interest of their football club.

However, vicarious liability may often be limited to a personal injury caused during the course of the match itself and not for actions that occur after the game.

Given there are so many caveats involved with football injuries it can sometimes be difficult to make a successful claim.

Because of this, it is vital that you select the correct solicitor with the right expertise.

As members of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, our priority is to ensure that each of our clients receives and retains the maximum level of personal injury advice and compensation possible.

So if you have suffered a personal injury and think the fault may lie with another, call us for free today on 0800 1979 345 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of our team will call you back at a time that suits you.