A golf course illustrating the issues surrounding Tiger Woods' injuries and the potential loss of earnings with complex injuries

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Tiger Woods and the issues around injury and loss of earnings

How do Tiger Woods' significant injuries fit with a loss of earnings claim...

News of the accident of Tiger Woods overnight highlights issues relating to loss of earnings that often arise when we bring a personal injury claim following a Major Trauma Incident.

Let’s assume for the moment that his accident was caused by someone else’s negligence. As we understand it, he has suffered very severe lower leg injuries requiring the insertion of metalwork (often described a bit like meccano). This suggests he has a complex “comminuted” fracture of the two bones we have in our lower legs. Given his age, he is likely to suffer with longer term irritation from the metalwork, general discomfort, some restriction of movement, and the need to remove the metalwork at some stage. He may also have a heightened risk of arthritis.

Will Tiger Woods’ injuries affect his earnings?

So how does that fit with a loss of earnings claim? If Mr Woods’ sole income was derived from his golf tournament winnings, a starting point would be to look at how much he has earned on average over the last few years and then look at what he earns after the accident. The difference would be the claim for loss of earnings.

However, that does not take into account that Mr Woods was already in decline (except for the win in the Masters in 2019) before the accident. Most golfers start switching from the normal tours to the senior tour with lower prize money. And in any event Mr Woods had already had five back surgeries requiring long periods off the golf course. We don’t know for certain whether he would have needed even more surgery and more time off affecting his earnings capacity even if he had not had the road accident.

It is sometimes easy to look too chronologically at an issue. Simply because a loss arises after an accident does not mean that the accident caused that loss. There are two crucial aspects to a personal injury claim which arise from this.

Proactive rehabilitation, medical evidence and complex trauma injuries

Firstly, it is vital to obtain credible medical evidence from the most appropriate expert. That expert is expected to consider the pre-accident situation and project what the situation would have been if the accident had not happened. The expert then sets out their opinion on what has happened as a result of the accident.

Secondly, it highlights the importance of proactive rehabilitation. Complex trauma claims can often be hotly disputed by insurers and making the best physical and mental recovery one can (whether using money from a claim, state funding, or charities) will always be in the patient’s best interest.

How can Major Trauma Group help?

If you have suffered injury as a result of an accident which was not your fault, and would like to find out more about Major Trauma Group and how our member firms can help you, get in touch via:

Major Trauma Group is a not-for-profit community interest company, set up in November 2020. Major Trauma Group’s purpose is to enhance the rehabilitation journey and provide specialist legal assistance to those suffering major trauma.  We do this by providing access to experienced legal advice in this specialised area. Crucially, our law firms have rehabilitation at the core of their services, emphasising recovery and ensuring financial security.

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