Category Archives: Injury

SPORTBESERINGS: WIE IS AANSPREEKLIK?

Kontak sporte gee dikwels daartoe aanleiding dat die spelers daarvan ernstig beseer word. Kan iemand aanspreeklik gehou word vir hierdie beserings, of neem jy, as deelnemer, inherent die risiko wanneer jy aan hierdie sportsoorte deelneem. Die regspraak het egter belangrike beginsels is vasgestel met verwysing na die bogenoemde kwessie. Eerstens is dit belangrik om deeglik bewus te wees van die betrokke sportsoort se reëls, wat toelaatbaar is, al dan nie, alvorens jy aan die sportsoort deelneem.

Wanneer jy aan ʼn sport deelneem, stem jy in tot die moontlikheid van beserings? In die 2012-Appèlhofsaak van Hattingh v Roux, is hierdie stelling oorweeg. In hierdie saak het die appellant die respondent ernstig beseer deur gebruik te maak van ʼn skrum tegniek, die jack-knife.

Die Appèlhofregter, Plasket, het ten gunste van die respondent beslis. In die uitspraak is daar beslis dat die appellant opsetlik die respondent beseer het en dat sy aksies as onregmatig beskou moet word. Die regsbeginsel van Volenti Non Fit Iniuria, of die toestemming tot potensiële skade, sou onder normale omstandighede ʼn persoon beskerm wat iemand in ʼn sportwedstryd beseer, maar die regsbeginsel (Volenti Non Fit Iniuria) geld slegs waar die besering plaasvind onder normale omstandighede gedurende ʼn wedstryd.

Regter Plasket het gesê dat: “Eerstens was die jack-knife beweging wat deur Alex uitgevoer is in teenstelling met die reëls van die wedstryd. Verder was die beweging ook in teenstelling met die gees en die konvensies van die sport. Tweedens was die beweging ook vooruitbeplan, en was dit dus doelbewus uitgevoer. Derdens, alhoewel een van die doelwitte was om veld te wen met die skrum, was ʼn definitiewe oorweging ook om die opposisie te intimideer, spesifiek Ryan. Dit was ook uiters gevaarlik.”[1]

Plasket AJ gaan verder:

“aangesien hierdie optrede aanleiding gegee het tot so ʼn ernstige oortreding van die reëls, kan dit nie as die norm beskou word vir ʼn gewone rugby wedstryd nie, en is dit ongelooflik gevaarlik. It would ‘not have constituted conduct which rugby players would accept as part and parcel of the normal risks.”[2]

Dit blyk duidelik vanuit hierdie uitspraak dat die hoofkwessie om te oorweeg wanneer daar geëvalueer word of ʼn persoon aanspreeklik gehou kan word ʼn ernstige besering in ʼn kontaksport, die vraag is of die besering plaasgevind het in die normale gang van die wedstryd.

Appelregter Brand, het in In alternatiewe uitspraak die volgende stelling gemaak:

“I believe that conduct which constitutes a flagrant contravention of the rules of rugby and which is aimed at causing serious injury or which is accompanied by full awareness that serious injury may ensue, will be regarded as wrongful and hence attract legal liability for the resulting harm”.[3]

Daar word gestel dat waar ʼn aksie van so aard is dat dit ʼn blatante oortreding van die reëls van die spel is, die speler homself met die nagevolge van die oortreding konsolideer en opsetlik voortgaan met die handeling, behoort die speler aanspreeklik gehou te word vir sy aksies. Dit is belangrik dat die betekenis van hierdie stelling nie is dat enige besering wat voortspruit uit die oortreding van ʼn reël met regsgevolge gepaard moet gaan nie, maar slegs gevalle wat so ernstig en blatant is, dat dit wel nodig is.

Dit sou ʼn onnodige las plaas op ʼn speler om nie enige reël te verbreek nie, uit die vrees dat ʼn speler in die ander span beseer kan raak en dat regsgevolge daaruit mag spruit. Dink jou in dat ʼn rugbyspeler deliktueer aanspreeklik gehou word vir die feit dat hy van sy voete af gegaan het by ʼn losgemaal, ʼn algemene fout in rugby. Die beredenering agter die Roux-uitspraak, is bloot dat waar ʼn speler opsetlik en blatant die reëls van die spel verbreek en weet dat die oortreding ernstige beserings kan veroorsaak, kan die speler aanspreeklik gehou word.

Daar is dus geen rede om die manier waarop daar ʼn aan ʼn sport deelgeneem word, aan te pas bloot uit die vrees van regsgevolge nie. Wees egter bewus van die feit dat kwaadwillige aksies op die sportveld ernstige gevolge mag hê.

Bibliografie

Artikels

Labuschagne JMT “Straf- en Delikregtelike Aanspreeklikheid vir Sportbeserings” Stell LR 1998 1 72

 

Regspraak

Roux v Hattingh 2012 (6) SA 428 (SCA)

[1] Roux v Hattingh 2012 (6) SA 428 (SCA) at Par27

[2] Roux v Hattingh 2012 (6) SA 428 (SCA) at Par28

[3] Labuschagne JMT “Straf- en Delikregtelike Aanspreeklikheid vir Sportbeserings” Stell LR 1998 1 72 78

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

Dog bites and the financial risk it poses to owners

When a person is bitten and injured by a dog the injured person can institute action against the owner of the dog to recover his/her damages suffered. Guilt on the part of the owner is not a requirement for liability to attach. If the requirements discussed below are met, the injured person need not prove any guilt on the part of the owner of the dog. Thus, irrespective of whether the owner of the dog was negligent or not, the owner can still be held liable for harm caused by his animal.

What must be proven for a successful claim?

In order to succeed with a claim for damages, the injured person must show that:

  1. The person being sued must have been the owner of the relevant animal at the time of the incident. The mere fact that a person is in control of an animal is not sufficient;
  2. The animal is a domesticated animal, which by implication excludes wild animals;
  3. Injury was caused by the actions of the animal acting contrary to the nature of its kind. The animal must have acted differently to what could be expected of a proper and well-mannered animal of its kind. A dog that bites is deeded by our courts to act contrary to the nature of its kind. Where the animal does not act spontaneously but acts due to incitement or other external factors such as a dog that is being teased etc., the animal does not act contrary to its nature when it reacts aggressively;
  4. He/she had a right to be present at the place where the damage was caused. Where a person enters the property of another without invitation, the person will not be able to succeed with this action because the injured person was unlawfully present on the property. 

Defences available to the owner of the dog

Although guilt on the side of the owner is not a pre-requisite, a number of defences are available to the owner of the animal in the case of a claim for damages. Defences available to the owner include the following:

  1. Guilty conduct on the part of the injured person. For example, where the injured person provoked the animal by hitting, throwing objects at or teasing the animal;
  2. Causing of damage by a guilty third party. For example, where another person provokes the dog or hurts or teases the animal with the result that the injured person is attacked;
  3. Provocation by another animal. For example, where another dog attacks the owner’s dog and the owner’s dog in the attack bites the injured person;
  4. Consent to prejudice. Where the injured person expressly or tacitly through his/her conduct consents to prejudice. For example, where a person is bitten by a dog but was pre-warned against the dog and then indicates that he/she is not afraid of dogs – “the dog won’t bite me” – a court should find that the injured person tacitly consented to the prejudice and would the person not be able to claim damages from the owner.

What damages can be claimed?

Where a dog bites a person, the person usually suffers damage, therefore he/she can claim for a wide range of damages, including for pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment, disfiguration or disability, medical expenses incurred and to be incurred in future, loss of income, etc. All of these damages are in principle recoverable from the owner of the dog. Even a person who witnesses the attack on another person, may as a result of the emotional trauma suffered (and upon proving it) claim for damages.

It is important for owners of dogs to take note of their potential liability for the actions of their animals. This liability may be extensive and owners are encouraged to be serious about the proper control of their animals and to keep the animals within the confines of their property. 

Short Term Insurance

Most short term householder policies will make provision for liability such as this at a minimal cost to the policyholder. Take the time to discuss this with your broker or insurer. Make sure that adequate insurance is in place. A claim such as this can amount to significant proportions. Your insurer can, however, help you cater for such a risk.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

Dog bites and the financial risk it poses to owners

A2blHaving received a number of matters that ended up in costly litigation we have decided to point out certain risks to dog owners regarding how liability arises and how to manage such risks and protect oneself against potential liabilities.

When a person is bitten and injured by a dog the injured person can institute action against the owner of the dog to recover his/her damages suffered. Guilt on the part of the owner is not a requirement for liability to attach. If the requirements discussed below are met, the injured person need not prove any guilt on the part of the owner of the dog. Thus, irrespective of whether the owner of the dog was negligent or not, the owner can still be held liable for harm caused by his animal.

What must be proven for a successful claim?

In order to succeed with a claim for damages, the injured person must show that:

  1. The person being sued must have been the owner of the relevant animal at the time of the incident. The mere fact that a person is in control of an animal is not sufficient;
  2. The animal is a domesticated animal, which by implication excludes wild animals;
  3. Injury was caused by the actions of the animal acting contrary to the nature of its kind. The animal must have acted differently to what could be expected of a proper and well-mannered animal of its kind. A dog that bites is deeded by our courts to act contrary to the nature of its kind. Where the animal does not act spontaneously but acts due to incitement or other external factors such as a dog that is being teased etc., the animal does not act contrary to its nature when it reacts aggressively;
  4. He/she had a right to be present at the place where the damage was caused. Where a person enters the property of another without invitation, the person will not be able to succeed with this action because the injured person was unlawfully present on the property. 

Defences available to the owner of the dog

Although guilt on the side of the owner is not a pre-requisite, a number of defences are available to the owner of the animal in the case of a claim for damages. Defences available to the owner include the following:

  1. Guilty conduct on the part of the injured person. For example, where the injured person provoked the animal by hitting, throwing objects at or teasing the animal;
  2. Causing of damage by a guilty third party. For example, where another person provokes the dog or hurts or teases the animal with the result that the injured person is attacked;
  3. Provocation by another animal. For example, where another dog attacks the owner’s dog and the owner’s dog in the attack bites the injured person;
  4. Consent to prejudice. Where the injured person expressly or tacitly through his/her conduct consents to prejudice. For example, where a person is bitten by a dog but was pre-warned against the dog and then indicates that he/she is not afraid of dogs – “the dog won’t bite me” – a court should find that the injured person tacitly consented to the prejudice and would the person not be able to claim damages from the owner.

What damages can be claimed?

Where a dog bites a person, the person usually suffers damage, therefore he/she can claim for a wide range of damages, including for pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment, disfiguration or disability, medical expenses incurred and to be incurred in future, loss of income, etc. All of these damages are in principle recoverable from the owner of the dog. Even a person who witnesses the attack on another person, may as a result of the emotional trauma suffered (and upon proving it) claim for damages.

It is important for owners of dogs to take note of their potential liability for the actions of their animals. This liability may be extensive and owners are encouraged to be serious about the proper control of their animals and to keep the animals within the confines of their property. 

Short Term Insurance

Most short term householder policies will make provision for liability such as this at a minimal cost to the policyholder. Take the time to discuss this with your broker or insurer. Make sure that adequate insurance is in place. A claim such as this can amount to significant proportions. Your insurer can, however, help you cater for such a risk.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.