Footballer Wins £4.5m Payout after Tackle Ends Career

Ben Collett Injury Compensation Case

15.08.2008

A former Manchester United player has been awarded over £4.5m in compensation after an injury he suffered in a tackle ended his promising playing career.

Ben Collett, 23, was playing in a reserve game in 2003, against Middlesbrough, when aged 18 he broke his leg.

The total compensation is to be determined at a hearing in October when sums for future loss of pension and interest on past loss of earning will be taken into consideration after liability for the injury was admitted by Boro player Gary Smith and his club.

The £4.3m sum was awarded to the player by Mrs Justice Swift at London's High Court who said the final sum was unlikely to be less than £4.5m. She went on to say that if it had not been for the injury a three-year professional contract with Manchester United would have been offered.

The Solicitor representing Mr Collett said that the amount reflected his talent and potential before the tackle.

He was also described at an earlier hearing by Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson as an outstanding player. He said: "I thought the boy showed fantastic focus, a great attitude to work hard and they are qualities to give any player an outstanding chance in the game."

The compensation following the incident in May 2003 will be paid by Middlesbrough's insurers.

If he had played until the age of 35, the court heard that Mr Collett could have earned more than £13,000 a week, making a total excess of £16m. He was awarded £3,854,328 for future loss of earning.

A total of £456,095 was calculated for past loss of earnings and £35,000 for general damages for pain and suffering, loss of amenity and loss of congenial employment.

Stuart Henderson from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "This case demonstrates very clearly that  in sports such as football that players owe a duty of care to each other and if boundaries are crossed and dangerous and reckless tackles cause injury to another footballer they and their club can be sued for very substantial damages.

"With the earnings of premiership footballers being as high as they are it is not surprising that a highly promising and talented footballer whose glittering career has been prematurely brought to a close is awarded millions of pounds to represent his lost future income. If he had become a future David Beckham of course this would be a considerable underestimate but the court are to some extent in these claims looking into a crystal ball to predict the future career and earnings of a professional footballer and have to do their best on the evidence available."

Find out more about making a sports injury claim