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Compensation Claims for Rugby Injuries

If you’ve been injured in a rugby accident, you have every right to hold those responsible accountable, and receive compensation for your injuries—if there’s proof of negligence.

Rugby is a high-contact sport, and injuries can, and do, unfortunately, occur. While many athletes accept this as part and parcel of each game, injuries that arise due to negligence are highly avoidable.

The first step in any compensation claim is speaking to a free legal advice service.

Call 0800 234 6438 or use the online form for a callback, and get the ball rolling on your compensation claim.

Rugby is a fast-paced, high-impact sport, with rugby tackles an important part of any rugby game. As a contact game, there is a higher risk of injury than in non-contact sports. Rugby is, in fact, one of the most dangerous sports because of the high impact collisions between players during a typical game. A comprehensive report published early 2017 revealed that 10 premiership rugby players retired as a result of injury.

Most rugby injuries are sustained during tackles, and concussion is by far the most common and highest risk rugby match injury. Other common injuries include broken bones, back and neck injuries, muscular strains and bruising, dislocations and overuse injuries. Because of the high injury risk, there are strict rules governing tackles in order to protect rugby players.

Even spectators at rugby matches can be hurt, for instance, through trips and falls in the grounds. The stadium or rugby ground owners could be held liable in negligence if they have breached their duty of care towards visitors on the premises, and you have suffered a personal injury as a result.

Rugby: How common are injuries?

The fast-paced nature of rugby, including tackles, will naturally increase the risk of injuries, making the sport one of the more dangerous activities. According to research from the Rugby Players Association, concussions are the most common injuries.

In the 2019-20 English rugby season, 61% of all match injuries were sustained in the tackle. In addition, 42% of all concussion injuries were suffered by the tackler and 32% by the ball carrier (England Rugby).

It’s also important to remember that injuries can occur to spectators when poorly maintained stadiums cause trips and falls.

The causes of rugby injuries include

  • Tackles: Did you know the average rugby player makes 40 or more tackles per game? Dangerous or reckless tackles can cause serious injuries to anyone involved.
  • Poor Training: Professional and amateur rugby players should have ongoing training that teaches them how to tackle and move properly. Failing to do this can result in injuries.
  • Pitch Problems: Issues with poorly maintained pitches can cause slips and trips. Owners have to look after the grounds, protecting both players and spectators.
  • Bad Refereeing: Referees must also watch out for the players. In one case, where a rugby player collapsed in a scrum, the referee was held liable.
  • Equipment: Teams should always provide their players with adequate safety equipment. Failing to do this makes them liable if an injury occurs.
  • Violence: Needless tackles from other players or violence from fans can result in emotional and physical distress. The victim might even file criminal assault charges.

The types of injuries caused by rugby accidents

Some rugby injuries are more serious than others, but all will require some recovery. Even minor injuries are eligible for compensation as long as you can prove negligence.

Fractures and muscle damage

Whether it’s a broken wrist, arm, leg or something more serious, fractures can be extremely painful and take weeks to heal. Severe fractures might even require surgery, while muscle and tendon injuries also mean athletes can’t play for a while.

Shoulder injuries, such as dislocations, will also require immediate treatment. In the worst cases, spinal cord injuries might cause paralysis, which has life-changing effects.

Injuries to the brain and head

Concussions are the most common injuries among rugby players, and it’s only in recent years that we understand the long-term impacts of repeated head trauma.

Former players have higher risks of developing CTE, a condition primarily associated with repeated concussions.

Motor Neuron Disease

MND is a rare condition, but it’s common among former rugby players (Rugby 365). As the condition progresses, it causes speech, movement and breathing problems, with people often requiring specialist care.

Rugby Injury Case Study

Former Rugby World Cup players, athletes from Rugby Union and the Welsh Rugby Union teamed together to sue World Rugby for their repeated head injuries. Many have early-onset dementia and other related conditions that will severely impact their quality of life.

While negotiations are still ongoing, the lawsuit highlights the importance of implementing more robust measures to prevent long-term damage (Reuters).

DID YOU KNOW: In the 2019-20 English rugby season, 61% of all match injuries were sustained in the tackle. In addition, 42% of all concussion injuries were suffered by the tackler, and 32% by the ball carrier.

Deciding if you have a claim

Rugby injuries can have a significant, and sometimes life-changing impact on the player’s life. Their ability to continue to play rugby or other sports, to earn a living and enjoy a normal family and social life can, in more serious cases, be severely impacted.

Unfortunately, simple accidents happen in every walk of life. If your injury was sustained by an accident that was nobody’s fault, for instance, through your own carelessness, you will not be able to claim compensation.

However, if your injury was caused because someone else was negligent or a player made a dangerous or illegal tackle or other move on the rugby pitch, you can start a personal injury claim.

Determining negligence

Negligence can occur from numerous parties in rugby, but you have to prove you weren’t at fault. Common forms of negligence include:

Coaching staff

If your coach has overworked you or underprepared you for a match, or if you were given insufficient warm-up time before the game, leading to an injury that could have been avoided, you can take action.

Poor maintenance

If the facilities on the ground were of poor quality, or the equipment you were supplied with were sub-standard, leading to your injury – then you have been badly let down and you are entitled to compensation.

Failing to look after each player’s health

Multi-component programmes that combine more than one element (e.g. warm up sessions, regular training, ankle braces and rehabilitation of injuries) can reduce sporting injuries.Teams that don’t look after their players can be deemed as negligent.

Referees can also be negligent if they don’t stop a match or identify dangerous situations for players.

Carelessness and aggression

Other athletes can also be held responsible for your injuries if they knowingly caused undue harm or acted carelessly. Spectators injured by others could also claim compensation, although proving negligence will depend on who was responsible for crowd control.

DID YOU KNOW: Multi-component programmes that combine more than one element (e.g. warm up sessions, regular training, ankle braces and rehabilitation of injuries) can be effective in reducing sporting injuries.

Starting a rugby injury claim

Before claiming compensation, it’s best to determine whether you’re eligible. Phoning 0800 234 6438 or using the online form gives you access to a specialist legal advisor whose sole purpose is helping you decide whether you can make a claim.

If the advisor feels you’re eligible they’ll connect you with a specialist no win no fee solicitor who will argue your case.

You should start your claim as soon as possible because any legal proceedings must be underway within three years of the date of the incident. Otherwise, your claim may be ‘time-barred’.

Evidence to support your rugby injury claim

Most rugby injury claims are settled out of court, but you will need to have expert medical evidence before the claim can be resolved.

Whatever the circumstances of your injury, you need to pull together as much information as possible as soon as you can.

The information (evidence) you will need includes:

  • Witness accounts of what happened
  • Photographs of the pitch, any equipment, and your injuries
  • Sketches of what happened
  • Accident book records
  • Anything else that can help support your claim

Documenting any expenses

To claim for any expenses that resulted from your injury, such as travel costs, prescription charges, and medical care, you will need to provide your lawyer with receipts, invoices, and so on, as evidence.


Your no win no fee solicitor will argue the claim on your behalf, demonstrating negligence and explaining your injuries.

You might require a medical assessment, which will prove how the accident impacts your life, and ensure your solicitor can secure the maximum compensation.

Hopefully, the person (or organisation) you are claiming compensation from will admit they were at fault, and you will be able to negotiate a satisfactory settlement without having to go to a court hearing. Otherwise, you will have to go court where the judge will decide on liability, and the amount of compensation that should be awarded.

Nobody wants to discourage those who seek to keep fit through sporting exercise, but the no win no fee personal injury system means that you can do so safe in the knowledge that you won’t be the one to ultimately pay for other people’s negligence.

Settling your claim and moving on

Once both parties agree on a compensation amount, you’ll receive the money and your solicitor will take their fee out of the award. You can then use this money to pay for specialist treatments, recover your finances, or adapt to your home.

The money you receive won’t take the pain away, or make up for your career, but it can provide vital support when you need it most.

Why claim with a no win no fee solicitor?

Heading to a traditional solicitor might seem easier, but there’s no guarantees that you’ll win the case. So, you’ll pay an hourly fee throughout the case, which will inevitably have an impact on your financial stability.

If you don’t win, you’ll be in debt and have no financial support. No win no fee solicitors don’t issue any upfront fees, and only receive money if they win the case for you. That means you don’t have to worry about financial trouble and can enjoy peace of mind.

How much compensation will I receive?

There’s no set amount for rugby injury compensation as the amount you receive depends on the injuries and their impact on your life. Solicitors look at general and special damages to calculate a realistic amount, which includes the following factors:

  • The injuries themselves. For example,people with severe back and neck injuries will get more than someone with a broken leg.
  • Any pain and suffering, including mental and emotional distress from the accident.
  • Medical expenses, lost income and any other expenses.
  • Whether you require ongoing care and adaptations to your property.

Your solicitor will be able to provide an estimate based on their experience of arguing previous cases.

Get free legal advice today

Starting your rugby injury compensation claim today gives you plenty of time to seek legal advice and gain access to a no win no fee lawyer.

Remember, you only have three years from the date of the accident to make a claim, and starting today gives you peace of mind for tomorrow. Please call 0800 234 6438 or use the online form for immediate support.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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If you win your case, your solicitor's success fee will be taken from the compensation you are awarded - up to a maximum of 25%. Your solicitor will discuss any fees before starting your case.