What Are Your Legal Rights If Your Child Is Hurt Playing Sport?

Check the fine print.

A spate of spinal and neck injuries in rugby matches involving teenagers has led to an urgent safety review.

Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle said that the sport will review how they protect the health and safety of players.

Four boys have been seriously injured in the last month. Image: Sean Tweedy

There have been calls for school level teams to be reduced to seven players as a way of managing risks involved with playing the sport.

"The sevens is obviously a safer option of rugby because less people on the field means less contact," Perry Cross from the Spinal Research Foundation told Ten Eyewitness News.

The public is calling for the code's governing body to take responsibility for the well being of their players.

Raelene Castle launched the inquiry into the schoolboy injuries on Monday. Image: Getty Images.

"I played a bit of union as a very young kid - under 11yrs. It was great fun. Cross-country wrestling, we called it. But we were too small to do each other very much damage, and young enough that we still bounced quite well. My 16yr old nephew is now playing, and I can’t pretend I have complete confidence in his safety," Facebook user Micheal Jameson wrote.

Rugby Australia will meet with headmasters of the nine Queensland GPS schools on Wednesday and have said anything they find from the inquiry will be rolled out across the country.

Possible Legal Defenses In Sports Lawsuits

In the Civil Liability Act of 2003, Queensland adopted a set of defences that defendants can use should they be sued in relation to an injury sustained during a recreational activity.

Part of this is that no liability is held by the defendant if the injury is suffered under what is called "obvious risk".  Obvious risks include risk that are "patent or a matter of common knowledge".

"I don't think it's necessarily as straight forward as just someone is injured in a recreational sporting activity [and then they can make a claim]," partner at Holman Webb lawyers John Van de Poll told ten daily.

"It may be that the injuries that are suffered as part of that recreational activity are an obvious part of that recreational activity.  I suspect that there would be a reasonably good argument rugby has some of those known exposures," he said.

It's not as simple as someone gets injured so they can make a claim. Image: Getty Images.

A claim of negligence against the GPS schools or Rugby Australia isn't straight forward either. Claimants, like parents of the injured boys in this instance, would have to establish that there was failure to protect the safety of young players.

"The question of whether a claim of negligence should be brought against the schools or not I think is a little bit more difficult," Van der Poll said.

"The claimants in those proceedings would have to establish that the schools ought to have known that there was a risk of injury and they failed to do everything reasonable to avoid injury."

Get in touch with Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au